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Vol. I. 




Su Stack 

Jtonex Annex 

Copyrij^ht, 1882, 189^, 
By Estes and Lauriat. 

John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



Up to Queen Anne, this work is based upon Agnes 
Strickland's " Queens of England ; " but subsequent to 
that period many authorities have been consulted, and 
only such matter used as would seem appropriate. My 
first care was to prepare a narrative which should inter- 
est young people, but I have endeavored also to produce 
a result that would prove a source, not only of pleasure, 
but of profit. The limits of the design make it evident 
that some eminent names and noteworthy events could 
receive slight mention, or none at all, and that politics 
could be introduced only when requisite for the compre- 
hension of events that depended on them. It will be a 
satisfaction to hope that my readers may be prompted to 
independent inquiry. 




Matilda of Flanders, Queen of William the Conqueror 15 

Matilda of Scotland, Queen of Henry 1 45 

Matilda of Boulogne, Queen of Stephen 74 

Eleanora of Aquitaine, Queen of Henry II 89 

Berengaria of Navarre, Queen of Richard I no 

Isabella of Angouleme, Queen of King John . . . .123 

Eleanor of Provence, Queen of Henry III 137 

Eleanora of Castile, Queen of Edward 1 160 

Marguerite of France, Second Queen of Edward I. . • 175 
Isabella of France, Queen of Edward II. .... 181 

Philippa of Hainault, Queen of Edward III 214 

Anne of Bohemia, Queen of Richard II 234 

Isabella of Valois, Second Queen of Richard II. . . 243 

Joanna of Navarre, Queen of Henry IV. . . . . 254 

Katherine of Valois, Queen of Henry V 263 

Margaret of Anjou, Queen of Henry VI 280 

Elizabeth Woodville, Queen of Edward IV 316 

Anne of Warwick, Queen of Richard III 327 

Elizabeth of York, Queen of Henry VII 332 

Katharine of Arragon, First Queen of Henry VIII. . . 342 

Anne Boleyn, Second Queen of Henry VIII 378 

Jane Seymour, Third Queen of Henry VIII 403 

Anne of Cleves, Fourth Queen of Henry VIII. . . .409 
Katharine Howard, Fifth Queen of Henry VIII. . . .422 
Katharine Parr, Sixth Queen of Henry VIII 43° 



Canterbury Cathedral Frontispiece 

Matilda of Flanders 14 

Norman Arches 16 

William the Conqueror 19 

William the Conqueror, from Tapestries 21 

Conqueror and Conquered 23 

Landing of William the Conqueror 25 

Ruins of Hastings 29 

Battle of Hastings, from Bayeux Tapestries 31 

Old Westminster 33 

Ships of William the Conqueror, from Tapestries 36 

The Tower 37 

Robert Discovers his Father 39 

Trophy of Norman and Saxon Arms 41 

Pleasure Barge on the Thames 44 

Matilda of Scotland 47 

Queen Margaret's Chapel . . • 51 

The Beacon 53 

Death of the Red King 55 

College at- Oxford 59 

Playing at Bowls 61 

Norman Font 65 

Exterior Pulpit 66 

Ancient Windsor Castle 68 

Abbey of St. Etienne 71 

Norman Tower . . 73 

Entrance to Norman Chapel • • 75 

Arundel Castle 78 

Horn 79 

Scold's Bridle 80 

X List of Illustrations. 


A Battle g, 

Escape from Oxford g, 

Norman Robe gg 

The Pilgrim 90 

Eleanora of Aquitaine 01 

Crusaders on their March 05 

The Maze j^j 

Godstowe Nunnery jq2 

Murder of Thomas \ Becket 10^ 

Tomb of Henry II 107 

Berengaria of Navarre i,, 

Leaders of the First Crusade 1 1 - 

Capture of Acre no 

Costimies of the Period 122 

Isabella of Angouleme 125 

The Crypt in Old Windsor ,2g 

John's Anger after Signing Magna Charta 129 

Magna Charta Island 112 

Interior of Gloucester Cathedral i-jj 

Eleanor of Provence ixq 

Angel Tower and Chapter-House, Canterbury 143 

Chapter-House, York 147 

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland 151 

Gateway and Keep, Alnwick 153 

King Henry and his Barons 155 

Archers ico 

Eleanora of Castile 161 

Attempt on Edward's Life 165 

Caernarvon Castle 171 

Marguerite of France . . . . ^ 177 

Old Charing Cross 180 

Isabella of France • . . . . 183 

Retainer's Hall igo 

Westminster Hall 193 

Under the Tower igj 

City HaD, Valenciennes 201 

Old Fort at Oxford , . .205 

Edward II. and his JaUers 210 

Tomb of Edward II., Gloucester Cathedral 211 

Philippa of Hainault 215 

Doorway 219 

Philippa on her Knees before the King 227 

T«nb of Edward III 231 

List of Illustrations. xi 


Anne of Bohemia 235 

Houses on Old London Bridge 239 

Beards 242 

Isabella of Valois 245 

Body of Richard interred at Westminster 251 

Joanna of Navarre 255 

Shrewsbury 258 

Before Agincourt . 259 

Costumes 262 

Katherine of Valois 265 

Friar Bacon's Study 267 

Donjon at Vincennes 277 

Margaret of Anjou 281 

Ruins of Kenihvorth Castle 293 

Royal Apartments 297 

Warwick Castle 305 

View of Verdun 311 

Elizabeth WoodviUe 317 

Windsor Castle 321 

Vault of St. George's Chapel 324 

Bloody Tower 325 

Crjpt in Tower 326 

Anne of Warwick 329 

Dungeon, Tower 331 

Elizabeth of York 333 

Chapel of Henry VII 34° 

Costumes 34' 

Katherine of Arragon 343 

TheAlhambra 347 

London Bridge 35° 

Reception Room 353 

Richmond Church 355 

Richmond Palace 359 

Bedroom of Henry VIII., Knoll Castle 3^3 

House of Sir Thomas More 3^8 

Wolsey's Tower 373 

Beheading Block and Axe . 377 

Anne Boleyn 379 

Hever Castle 3^5 

Whitehall, Wolsey's Palace "^ 

Anne Boleyn's Chamber, Hever Castle 390 

Watergate, Tower 393 

Hampton Court 397 

xii List of Illustrations. 

jane Seymour 405 

Hampton Court, Garden Front 408 

Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House 420 

Guard Chamber, Lambeth Palace 421 

Heads on Old London Bridge 423 

Court Gardens . 425 

Stairway 429 

Katharine Parr 431 

Old St. Paul's 437 

Essex House , 443 









CONQUEROR (1031-1083). 

Matilda, wife of the great William, the Conqueror, was 
an exceedingly handsome woman, and as she had received 
the best education that was possible in her times, she was 
as celebrated for her learning as for her beauty. She was, 
besides, generous and religious, and had all the qualities 
necessary for the position she was called upon to fill. 

She was famed for her fancy-work, which was looked 
upon as one of the most important and desirable occupa- 
tions for ladies of rank ; and any woman who could spin, 
weave and embroider was considered quite a treasure. 

Matilda had three cousins who were such skilful needle- 
women, that they were sought in marriage by the greatest 
princes of Europe. Their work has not been preserved, 
but Matilda's still remains and is called the Bayeux Tapes- 
try. It is the most wonderful achievement in needlework 
ever accomplished by any woman. But we shall tell more 
about it, by-and-bye. 

Matilda's father was Earl of Flanders, a rich, powerful 
prince, skilled in the arts of peace and war. He was, be- 
sides, such a popular man that all the rulers in his 


The Queens of England. 

neighborhood were anxious to win the hand of his beauti- 
ful daughter. 

Her cousin, William of Normandy, was the most accom- 
plished of them all, and loved her devotedly. He was 
handsome, brave and talented, and so strong, that, it is 
said, no man could bend his bow but himself. And he was 

such a sure marks- 
man, that even when 
riding at full speed, 
he seldom missed his 
aim. It is remark- 
able that although 
he was the tallest 
man in his army, he 
passed through all 
his battles without 
the loss of a drop of 
blood, until towards 
the close of his ca- 
reer, when he was 
wounded by his own 

Strange to say, 

this young man did 

not find favor in the 

eyes of his lady cousin at all ; this mortified him so much, 

that he resolved to win her in spite of herself. 

He had a rival in a young Saxon nobleman named 
Brihtric Meaw, who had come to Flanders as ambassador 
from Edward the Confessor, then on the British throne. 
This favored gentleman was so fair and light-haired that 
he was nicknamed >" Snow." Matilda loved him in secret, 
which is probably the reason why she would not listen to 
her cousin William. 


I052. Matilda of Flanders. I» 

But Brihtric Meaw does not seem to have cared particu. 
larly for her, and so did not find out what her sentiments 
were towards him. Thus, quite innocently, he never at- 
tempted to court her, and she could not forgive his indiffer- 
ence. Still her mind was filled with him, and this made 
her treat William coldly. He was not to be baffled, how- 
ever, but courted her through seven long and tedious years. 

At last he became Impatient, so one day when Matilda 
was going home from church, he managed to meet her, as 
lovers will. Perhaps she was more unkind to him than 
usual and made him angry, otherwise I do not know how 
to account for his behavior on that occasion, but he seized 
hold of her, rolled her in the dirt, then actually beat her. 
Before she had time to call for help, after she had recovered 
from her surprise, he jumped on his horse, and rode off as 
fast as he could go. 

Now, she might have been induced to forgive him for 
spoiling her good clothes, but how she could have had any- 
thing more to do with a fellow, no matter what his rank 
might be, who could dare to treat her so brutally, is hard to 
understand. Perhaps the women were not so high spirited 
then as they are now, but certain it is that instead of getting 
into a rage, stamping her feet and forbidding him ever 
to approach her again, the princess was won. This re- 
markable style of love-making went straight to her heart, 
and brought matters to a crisis. It may be that she feared 
another beating, or that she was finally convinced of the 
greatness of his love ; whatever it was, she consented to 
become his wife, forthwith. 

The wedding was celebrated at William's Castle in Nor- 
mandy, Matilda having gone there accompanied by her 
parents, and a large retinue of ladies and gentlemen. Her 
trousseau was magnificent, and on her wedding day she 
wore a superb velvet robe embroidered with gold and 

1 8 The Queens of England. 

pearls. It was so rich and costly, that it was for a long 
time preserved in the treasury of the Cathedral of Bayeux 
with William's mantle and helmet, which were adorned 
with precious stones. 

At the time of his marriage, William's affairs were in a 
most perilous condition, for he was surrounded by powerful 
neighbors who wanted to get possession of the rich fields 
of Normandy. They hoped to divide them among them- 
selves and leave the duke nothing. He had enemies 
among his own subjects too, who would have been pleased 
to turn him off and have his cousin Guy of Burgundy to 
govern them, because they thought he had a better right to 
the dukedom of Normandy than William had. Perhaps 
this was so, but the latter had too determined a will to 
yield, and he had been a leader nearly all his life. 

When he was only five years old, he formed a battalion 
of boys of his own age whom he drilled in military prac- 
tice every day. It must have been a pretty sight, and no 
doubt the little fellows fancied themselves real warriors. 
Of course disputes arose, all of which William settled with 
remarkable skill. 

He was a good student too, for he knew enough of 
Latin at eight years of age, to read and explain Caesar's 

When he was about seven, his father, Duke Robert, 
went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But before he 
did so, he assembled all the nobles of his realm, and made 
them swear fealty to his bright, promising child, whom he 
hugged and kissed tenderly, then presented to his subjects 
as their future Sovereign, saying : " He is little, but he 
will grow." 

Not long after this, Henry, King of France, invaded 
William's dominion, but he was defeated, because the 
young duke had such excellent advisers and assistants. 



Matilda of Flanders. 


The King was so indignant at this defeat, that he in- 
cited the Norman nobles to stir up an insurrection, hoping, 
no doubt, to punish the boy by depriving him of his title, 

Once when William was out hunting, he passed the 
night at a remote castle without military escort. His 
cousin, Guy of Burgundy, hearing of it, laid a plot to kill 
him, but this was prevented by 
the Court fool, who accident- 
ally found it out and travelled 
all night, at full speed, to warn 
the Duke of his danger. He 
managed to get into the castle 
at four o'clock in the morn- 
ing, and knocked violently on 
William's chamber door with 
the handle of his whip, shout- 
ing : " get up ! get up, my 
lord ! " William obeyed the 
summons, and mounting his 
swiftest horse, half dressed, 
rode with fiery speed for many 
hours before he was beyond 
danger. Even while making 

his escape, he might have been caught, for his horse was 
almost exhausted when he had the good fortune to meet a 
gentleman who supplied him with another. 

Later, the young duke had a chance to turn the tables 
on his cousin, Guy, whom he captured in battle. But re- 
membering that they had been friends in early childhood, 
William forgave the attempt his cousin had made on his 
life, and released him. 

The King of France was just planning another attack 
on William's dominions when the young man married, and 


22 The Queens of England. 

then Matilda's father became such a powerful ally that the 
king hesitated. Soon after he died. Relieved of this 
anxiety, the duke thought he might settle down and enjoy 
the society of his young wife; but, the Archbishop of 
Rouen, who had reasons of his own for trying to prevent 
the marriage, pronounced it unlawful, and the young 
couple were so distressed that they appealed to the Pope, 
He decided that if each would build and endow an Ab- 
bey, as well as a hospital for the blind, he would grant 
them dispensation. This was not difficult, so Matilda 
founded the Holy Trinity for Nuns, and William founded 
the Monastery of St. Stephen. 

Then William set to work to erect a palace for his own 
dwelling very near the Monastery. Matilda had a great 
taste for architecture and took pleasure in superintending 
these buildings. The great hall of the palace was one of 
the finest apartments in all Europe and the edifice itself 
was superb. 

This royal couple did everything to render their subjects 
happy and contented, and provided work for them by 
building ships and harbors, which promoted trade also. 

Though we know that Matilda did not love her husband 
before marriage, she became a devoted wife afterwards, 
and William showed his entire confidence in her by leaving 
her to govern his country when he went over to England 
to obtain a promise from Edward the Confessor that he 
would adopt him as successor to the throne. 

He was kindly received in England, and Edward gave 
him some fine hawks, hounds and other presents. Then 
Matilda had a little boy whose birth added considerably to 
her happiness. He was called Robert, after his grand- 
papa, and there was great rejoicing in Normandy over this 
event. If they could have foreseen how he would turn 
out, the feeling would have been very different. 


Matilda of Flanders. 


In course of time Matilda had eight other children, and 
during many years of peace and national prosperity, she 
and her husband devoted themselves to their care and ed- 

[A.D. 1065.] Now it happened that once, when Har- 
old, Edward the Confessor's half brother, was out fishing 
in an open boat, he was overtaken by a storm and obliged to 
seek refuge in the territory 
of the Earl of Ponthieu, who 
seized him and shut him up 
in prison. William rescued 
him, treated him most kind- 
ly, and even promised him 
one of his daughters in mar- 
riage, though she was but 
seven years old. 

Harold acted like a sneak, 
and pretended to be highly 
flattered ; but it was not his 
intention ever to marry the 
girl at all. 

He listened to William's 
narration of how Edward 
had adopted him as his suc- 
cessor to the British throne, 
and made a solemn promise 

to assist him to get it. Soon after his return to England, 
he married the widow of the Prince of Wales, and at 
Edward's death he took no notice of his promise to Wil- 
liam, but had himself proclaimed king. 

Of course such conduct aroused William's wrath, and, 
with the aid of his wife's relations, he resolved to invade 

[A.D. 1066.] This was the year 1066, and a memorable 


24 The Queens of England. 

one on account of the appearance in the heavens of a 
splendid three-tailed comet. We are pleased to have 
such a visitor and to be able to gaze at it and study it with 
the aid of telescopes, but in that time the people were so 
superstitious that they thought it portended evil, and so it 
spread terror throughout the land. The death of the 
King, which occurred only a few days after its appearance, 
served to encourage the superstition. When the astrol- 
ogers foretold its approach they announced it thus : 

" In the year one thousand and sixty-six, 
Comets to England's sons an end shall fix." 

One of the largest and finest pieces of handiwork that 
Matilda accomplished, was the tapestry representing 
this comet in the heavens with its three fiery tails spread 
all across the canvas. A group of terror-stricken Saxon 
princeSj priests and ladies have rushed out of their dwell- 
ings to look at it, and are pointing towards it, their faces 
expressing the utmost anxiety. To be sure the comet 
looked, when compared with the objects in the picture, a 
great deal larger than it could possibly have been, but 
probably, the size was suggested by the awe it inspired. 

Matilda did not do all this work alone; if she had, 
Hood's Song of the Shirt might well apply to the hun- 
dreds and thousands of cross stitches that she would have 
made, and we should pity her for having such a weary 
task. But she was assisted by all the ladies of her court, 
who laughed and chatted merrily while their hands were 
busily employed. 

Well, William started on his expedition to England, 
leaving his wife to rule at home, and his son Robert, then 
only thirteen years of age, military chief of Normandy. 

A large number of his subjects objected to this invasion, 
SO when the whole fleet was becalmed at St. Valleri, the 


' By the splendor of God, I have seized England with both hands." 

io66. Matilda of Flanders. 27 

common soldiers complained and declared that God was 
their adversary, and had stopped the wind to keep them 
back. The king did not know what to say to this, but at 
last he hit upon something that he knew would impress 
them. He ordered the shrine of St. Valleri to be brought 
from the tomb and placed in an open field, then invited 
everybody to pray to the saint to intercede with the Al- 
mighty for a breeze. Crowds of people far and near, as 
well as the Norman soldiers, brought offerings, and in a 
short time the shrine was buried in the gold, silver and 
other precious gifts that they placed upon it. The wind 
did not immediately change, but the malcontents had 
something to think about, and the delay gave Matilda time 
to carry out a pleasant surprise that she had planned for 
her husband. One day she appeared in the harbor on a 
splendid vessel of war that she had caused to be built as 
a present for William. She called it the Mora. At the 
prow of the vessel was a gold image of their youngest 
son. With one hand he held a trumpet to his lips, and 
with the other a bow with the arrow aimed towards 
England. Loud cheering and joyful exclamations greeted 
Matilda's appearance, and her husband was overcome by 
this mark of her affection. 

The Mora carried a red flag at her mast-head by day ; it 
was replaced at night by a bright light that served as a 
guide for the other vessels of the fleet. Scarcely was the 
duke well established on board than the long wished-for 
wind arose, every man was summoned to his post, and they 
set sail. Matilda went back home. 

The Norman fleet met some very rough weather and lost 
two of their ships. On the 28th of September, 1066, they 
landed on the coast of Sussex. 

The duke was the last person to step on shore. As he 
did so, he stumbled and fell. Probably he was still giddy 

28 The Queens of England. 

from the motion of the vessel, but his followers thought it 
an evil omen and raised a great cry of distress. The 
duke's presence of mind did not desert him. He picked 
up two handfuls of sand, exclaiming : " See, Seigneurs ! 
by the splendor of God, I have seized England with both 
hands ! " 

Then a meal was served on the beach, and afterwards 
the soldiers having selected a spot, began to put up the 
wooden fortress that they had brought in sections, from 

A piece of Matilda's tapestry represents the soldiers, 
assisting the carpenters and builders in this work. 

The army tarried four days on the beach. But there 
were no telegraphs or newspapers in those days, so Harold 
knew nothing of the approach of his enemy until a knight 
arrived from Sussex, having ridden all the way without 
food or rest, and rushing into his presence shouted at the 
top of his voice : " The Normans have come ! they have 
landed at Hastings and built up a fort ! they will rend the 
land from thee and thine unless thou defend it well ! " 
Harold sent a messenger offering to buy off the Normans, 
but William replied that he had not come for money, but 
to claim the realm that Edward the Confessor had given 

"Nay; you ask too much of us, Sire," said the messen- 
ger. " Harold is willing to purchase your departure with 
silver, gold and fine garments, but if you refuse, he will 
give you battle on Saturday night." 

The duke accepted the challenge. The night preceding 
the battle was passed by the English in dancing, singing 
and gambling ; but the Normans prayed, fasted, and con- 
fessed their sins. 

The battle was fought seven miles from Hastings. 
Taillefer, the warrior minstrel of Normandy, rode gallantly 


Matilda of Flanders. 


at the head of the chivalry of his native land, singing the 
war songs of Rollo. William had three horses killed 
under him that day without receiving a single scratch him- 
self. Harold was killed, and the victorious Duke William 
pitched his tent on the battle-field that night. 

When Matilda received the joj^ul tidings of her hus- 
band's triumph, she was praying in a church, which, she 
ordered to be forever after called Notre Dame de Bonnes 
Nouvelles, in memory of the good news she had received 

A celebrated piece of embroidery made by her after the 
victory represents her husband pointing towards his noble 
steed. He is dressed in a complete suit of armor, and 
the likeness is said to be as perfect as it could be, repre- 
sented in cross stitch. 




[A.D. 1066.] On the Monday following the battle of 
Hastings, William rode into the city of London, on horse- 
back, followed by a long train of the nobility of England 
and Normandy. He proceeded to Westminster Abbey, 
where he was crowned King of England. 

Grand preparations had been made for this event, and 
such a brilliant coronation had never been seen. Crowds 
of people gathered in the streets, and the duke's fine 
presence and noble bearing won all hearts. 

Holding the crown aloft the archbishop asked the 
nobles assembled, if they were willing to receive this duke 
for their king. They were so boisterous in their eager 
assent, that the Norman soldiers who had assembled 
outside the Abbey in case their protection should be 
needed, mistook the noise for the rising of the Saxons, and 
set fire to most of the buildings in the neighborhood. It 
required prompt action on the part of the more sober- 
minded of the Normans, to prevent the flames from de- 
stroying the Abbey itself. William was dismayed at this 
occurrence, and it was not until he showed himself in his 
coronation robes and crown, that his followers could be 
restored to order and quiet. 

Now, one would naturally suppose that in those rude 
times, Matilda's neighbors would have taken advantage of 
her husband's absence to invade her dominion, but she 
governed with so much skill and prudence that they did 



Matilda of Flanders. 


not venture to molest her, and she made herself universally 
beloved and respected. 

Having recounted the good traits of this queen, it is 
only fair to present the bad ones too, because nobody is 
entirely without faults, yet it is painful to be obliged to re- 
fer to one very dark deed of which she was guilty. 


She must have had a large share of vanity, for she 
never forgave Brihtric Meaw because he did not return 
her early affection, and fourteen years later she sought re- 
venge in this wise : She persuaded her husband to deprive 
Meaw of all his lands and bestow them on her ; then she 
had him put in prison where, after several months, he died. 
This was a very serious crime, and it is hard to understand 
how a woman with everything in the world to make her 

34 TJie Queens of England. 

happy, and with qualities so fine and noble as Matilda's 
certainly were, could have been capable of it. 

After an absence of six months, William returned to 
Normandy, accompanied by a number of Saxon noble- 
men. He brought a large quantity of costly spoils, 
among which were garments richly embroidered in sil- 
ver and gold by the skilful hands of the Anglo-Saxon 
women, whose beautiful work was renowned all over the 

The whole summer was spent by the royal couple in 
travelling and amusements until news was brought to Wil- 
liam that his Saxon subjects were planning an insurrection, 
when he hastened back to England. He arrived before 
any ver}' serious steps had been taken. 

He now began to see that his position would be in 
every respect more agreeable, and his subjects would be 
better satisfied if he had his family at court, so he sent a 
numerous company over to Normandy to conduct them to 

[A.D. 1068.] They proceeded at once to W'inchester, 
where the queen's coronation took place with great pomp 
and ceremony. In order to render it still more imposing, 
William had himself crowned a second time, but on this 
occasion there was no such excitement as disturbed the 
first crowning. Everybody was charmed with the graceful, 
majestic appearance of the new queen, though some of the 
Saxons objected to her being called Regina. which is the 
Latin word, signifying Queen, However, William insisted 
upon this honor being conferred on his wife ; though pre- 
vious to his reign all the wives of the various kings had 
simply been termed " the Ijidy, his companion." To be 
sure, few of the queens of England could claim more 
illustrious descent than Matilda ; for Alfred, the best and 
noblest of their sovereigns, was one of her ancestors, and 

fo68. Matilda of Flanders. 35 

she was connected with most of the royal families in 

After the coronation ceremony, a grand banquet was 
serv^ed, at which both the king and queen presided. 

Now, Matilda had to be served by her new subjects, the 
English, because they would not have been satisfied if she 
had kept only her Norman ladies in attendance. 

The king was so happy that he bestowed favors right 
and left in order to gain the affection of the nation. He 
also revived some of the old offices at court, which was a 
very popular act. Among these, was that of grand pan- 
netier, whose duty it was to carry the salt and the carving- 
knives from the pantry to the king's dining-table on state 
occasions. His fees were the salt-cellars, spoons, knives, 
and bread-covers laid on the royal table. Forks were not 
among the luxuries of William the Conqueror's day, when 
people must have verified the proverb of later times, that 
" fingers were made before forks." The Manor of Ad- 
dington was presented to the cook for preparing a kind of 
white soup that tickled his majesty's palate. 

During the grand coronation banquet, a noble cavalier, 
named Marmion, rode into the hall on horseback, com- 
pletely armed, and shouted out three times : " If anybody 
denies that our most gracious sovereign Lord William, and 
his spouse Matilda, are King and Queen of England, he 
is a false-hearted traitor and liar, and here I do challenge 
him to single combat." 

Nobody accepted the challenge. 

Under a glass case at the Museum of Bayeux is pre- 
served to this very day, a piece of canvas, nineteen inches 
broad and sixty-seven yards long, on which Queen Matilda 
embroidered the whole conquest of England by her hus- 
band. There are many hundred figures of men, horses, 
birds, beasts, houses, trees, castles, and churches, all done 


The Queens of England. 

in their proper colors. 

The designs were made by a dwarf 
artist named Turold, who 
seems to have been far- 
sighted enough to know 
that the work would be- 
come celebrated, for he 
has curiously managed to 
introduce his own figure 
or name on the canvas 
wherever it was possible. 

After William and his 
wife were seated on the 
throne, there was a season 
of tranquillity. Then the 
Conqueror laid the foun- 
S dation for the great Tower 
^ of London, as well as other 
S strong fortresses. But re- 
a volts began again, and the 
3 Normans demanded the 
I return of Matilda. She 
'Z resolved to gratify them, 
^ but in so doing displeased 
the English, for they knew 
that during her absence 
there would be fewer cele- 
brations at court, and they 
would thus be deprived of 
opportunities for dispos- 
ing of their fine goods. 

[A.D. 1069.] All the 
working people were af- 
fected, more or less, by 
her departure, and ♦Jiey 


Matilda of Flanders. 


got into a habit of gathering at each other's houses to dis- 
cuss their wrongs and grievances. Fearing that they might 
stimulate one another to revolt, William instituted the Cur- 
few, or the tolling of a bell, at eight o'clock every evening. 
This was a signal for all the lights and fires to be put out 
in the dwellings ; the 
word was originally 
couvre feu, which 
means extinguishing 

Then William made 
war in the north of 
England and laid 
waste the whole coun- 
tr}\ In one of the 
battles a fair young 
Saxon, who was en- 
gaged to one of the 
king's daughters, was 

As time went on, 
Norman customs were 
adopted in England, 
and that dialect, 

which was a mixture of French and Danish, became pop- 
ular. The learned wrote and conversed in Latin. 

Now, the ladies of Normandy, whose husbands were 
fighting William's battles, began to grow tired of the long 
separation ; besides, certain bits of gossip that came over 
the water to them aroused their jealousy. So, many of 
them insisted on recalling their lords who, for the sake of 
peace, were obliged to desert the king, and obey. The 
queen herself set a very bad example, for growing jealous 
of a daughter of one of the priests, she actually had the 


38 The Queens of England. 

poor girl secretly put to death. When William went to 
Normandy, he beat her severely for this shameful deed. 

Such treatment does not seem to have surprised her 
ver}' much, though, for she forgave him just as she did for 
a similar indignity before her marriage, and the royal 
couple were soon livmg on the most amicable terms 

But there was one serious cause of disagreement be- 
tween them. It was the great affection that the queen felt 
for her eldest son Robert. She loved him better than any 
of her other children, while the third son, William Rufus, 
was the king's favorite. 

Robert was a proud, self-willed, quick-tempered lad, who 
always wanted to rule, and the position of trust and im- 
portance that he had filled in Normandy during his father's 
absence had encouraged this disposition. He was spoiled, 
and showed an inclination to rebel when William resumed 
the reins of government. 

[A.D. 1076.] One day when he was walking with some 
companions around the castle, his two younger brothers, 
William Rufus and Richard, with a desire for boyish fun, 
threw some dirty water out of the window directly on his 
head. Instead of receiving the joke good-naturedly, or 
retaliating as any brother might be expected to do, Robert 
flew into a passion, and with a drawn sword in his hand 
rushed up-stairs, declaring that he would kill the offenders. 
A great tumult ensued, and it was only the appearance of 
their father who burst into the room, flourishing his sword, 
and pronouncing angry threats, that prevented fatal con- 

That evening Robert privately withdrew from court with 
a party of young nobles who were attached to him. He 
stood upon his dignity and refused to bow to his father's 



Matilda of Flanders. 


About this time the Princess Constance married, and 
shortly after Princess Cicely entered a convent. 

Then the queen received a severe blow in the death of 
her second son, Richard, a prince of most amiable disposi- 
tion and studious habits. But Robert's bad conduct and 
his disrespectful behavior towards his father gave her more 
real sorrow than anything else in the world. 

After a short absence 
he sought the king's 
presence and made a 
request that he should 
be appointed Sover- 
eign of Normandy, sa}'- 
ing, " It is my right ; 
have you not promised 
to bestow it on me ? " 

" It is not my custom 
to strip until I go to 
bed," replied the king, 
adding some whole- 
some advice. 

Then Robert, be- 
coming impertinent, 
said he did not come 
to listen to sermons, 
and angrily withdrew. He immediately went to live with 
his uncle, the Earl of Flanders. There he lived such a 
wild, extravagant life that his mother was frequently called 
upon to supply him with extra funds. When her private 
purse was empty, she sold her jewels and even her gar- 
ments to provide the wicked youth with what he demanded. 

All this was kept secret from William, which was cer- 
tainly very wrong. But he found it out at last, and it need 
scarcely be said, that he was exceedingly angry. However, 


42 The Queens of England. 

he did not beat his wife this time ; perhaps he had heard 
before of women making sacrifices for their children, 
but he was hurt at Matilda's lack of confidence in him, 
and told her very truly, " The woman who deceives her 
husband is the destruction of her own house," She de- 
fended herself so well, that he forgave her at last, and 
continued to love her till the very end of her life. 

But somebody had to be punished, and the victim was 
the agent who had forwarded the money to Robert, and 
attended to the selling of the queen's jewels and garments. 
The poor man was condemned to have his eyes put out. 
Filled with terror, he ran to a monastery, where, within 
twenty-four hours he was shaven and shorn and became a 
professed monk. Thus was he protected. 

Robert's ambition would not let him rest, so he prepared 
an attack on England. There was a furious battle, and 
it so happened, that in the midst of it a hand to hand 
encounter took place betweeen father and son. William 
was run through the arm with his adversary's lance and 
unhorsed. It is to be hoped, that as the warriors wore 
their visors down they did not recognize each other, for it 
would be horrible to think of a father's being intentionally 
wounded by his own flesh and blood. He cried out so 
loudly that he was known at once ; then Robert raised him 
tenderly from the ground and begged to be forgiven, while 
he placed the wounded king on his own horse and led him 
to a place of safety. 

It was a long time after the battle, in which Robert 
came off victorious, before he was blessed with his father's 
forgiveness, and this was brought about by the over-fond 
mother. Her health had suffered so much on account of 
the constant anxiety to which she was subjected, that 
William granted her request to invite his erring son home. 
But Robert was never admitted to his father's confidence. 

1078. Matilda of Flanders. 43 

[A.D. 1078.] It was William the Conqueror who estab- 
lished the celebrated Doomsday Book which contained a 
survey of all the lands throughout England. The object 
of this book was to enable the sovereign so to regulate 
taxes as to feel sure that he received as much as he dared 
exact from each subject. 

It was while her husband was making one of his expedi- 
tions to Normandy that Queen Matilda heard of a German 
hermit who was renowned for his gift of prophecy. She 
sent to consult him as to what was likely to be the result 
of the ill feeling existing between her husband and Robert. 

The hermit required three days for his reply, which was : 
" Tell your mistress that the Most High has made known 
to me in a dream, what she desires to hear. I saw in my 
vision, a pasture covered with grass and flowers. A noble 
charger was feeding thereon, A numerous herd gathered 
near eager to share the feast, but the charger would not 
permit them to approach. But, alas ! suddenly he dropped 
dead, and a poor silly steer appeared in his place. He 
had no power to keep off the meaner animals, so they all 
rushed into the field and trampled down the grass and 
flowers that they failed to devour. This is the explanation : 

"The noble steed is William the Conqueror, who by 
his wisdom and power keeps his surrounding foes in awe. 
The dull beast is Robert, who will succeed him. The other 
animals are the envious princes who are waiting for an op- 
portunity to attack the fields of Normandy, and destroy 
the land. If the illustrious lady do not labor to restore 
peace, there will be nothing but misery, ruin, and desola- 
tion to her beloved country." This message came close 
upon the death of the Princess Constance, and added so 
much to Matilda's sorrow that her health broke down, and 
she died. She had reigned seventeen years, and was the 
first Anglo-NormaL Queen of England 


The Queens of England. 

Matilda's funeral was conducted with great pomp, and 
the tomb that was placed over her grave was a mass of 
sculpture and precious stones. 

The king mourned the loss of his noble companion for 
many days ; he gave up all his favorite sports and became 
an irritable, melancholy man. He survived his wife only 
four years. 

Then Robert got possession of Normandy, but his at- 
tempt to place himself on the throne of England shortly 
afterwards failed. 

[A.D. 1087.] William Rufus, called the Red King on 
account of the color of his hair, succeeded William the 
Conqueror, and his brother Henry became king when he 
died. Robert ended his life in a prison, after being shut 
up in it for twenty-eight years. 



(A.D. 1077-H18.) 

This princess is called "The Good Queen," a title that 
shows how dear she must have been to her subjects, and 
how much she must have done to promote their happiness. 
She is the only princess of Scotland who ever shared the 
throne of an English king. 

Her aunt, Christina Atheling, was Abbess of Rumsey, 
and did all she could to influence Matilda to take the veil 
and enter a convent. But this was very displeasing to her 
father, the King of Scotland, and one day when she en 
tered his presence with a nun's veil fastened to her head, 
he indignantly tore it to pieces, saying that he intended 
her to become a wife some day, not a nun. This circum- 
stance made such an impression on her youthful mind, that 
she never forgot it. 

When the king made this remark, there was a young 
man present whose name was Alan, Duke of Bretagne. 
He was the widower of Constance, William the Con- 
queror's daughter, consequently much too old for Matilda ; 
nevertheless, he made up his mind on the spot that he 
would make her his wife if he could get her consent. 

But now we must tell something about the illustrious 
mother of this princess, to whom she was indebted for her 
earliest lessons in piety and virtue. 

Her name was Margaret, and her parents were Edward 
Atheling, sumamed the Outlaw, and a daughter of Henry 
n. of Germany. 


46 The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1068.] When she was a young lady, her family 
determined to leave England and take up their residence 
in Hungary, but the ship on which they embarked became 
disabled, and was driven by a storm into the Frith of Forth. 
Malcolm Canmore, who was King of Scotland, chanced to 
be present when they arrived, and so struck was he with 
the extreme beauty of the Lady Margaret, that a few days 
later he demanded her hand in marriage. This offer 
pleased her brother Edgar Atheling very much, because, 
not only was it a fine thing to have his sister in such a 
lofty position, but Malcolm had received them all so kindly 
and hospitably that he had made an excellent impression , 
so Edgar joyfully gave his consent. 

The spot where Margaret first set foot on Scottish soil is 
to this day called Queen's Ferry in memory of the circum- 

Now, Malcolm could neither read nor write, and be was 
so rough and wild, that many of her Saxon friends objected 
to so pure and intellectual a girl as Margaret uniting her- 
self to him. She loved him, however, and immediately 
after her marriage she set to work to reform her household 
as well as she could, and to introduce religious ceremonies, 
which were sadly wanting. 

Her husband felt her superiority, and had so much confi- 
dence in her judgment that he left the entire control of the 
royal household in her hands. He entertained such re- 
spect and admiration for her virtues as well as her mental 
qualities, that her influence over him was excellent. 

All persons who were leading bad, immoral lives were 
dismissed from the court, and no one was allowed to hold 
an office of any kind who failed in honesty or sobriety. 

Although grace was said daily after each meal, by Turgot, 
the court chaplain, the Scotch nobles were in the habit 
of leaving the table as soon as they had satisfied their 


io68. Matilda of Scotland. 49 

stomachs, without waiting for the grace. This displeased 
Margaret, and she began to consider what she could do to 
keep them in their seats without commanding them to stay. 
At last her woman's ingenuity fixed upon this arrangement. 
She ordered a cup of the very choicest wine in the royal 
cellar to be served to each man after grace, and by degrees 
she had the satisfaction of seeing not a single vacant chair 
at table so long as Turgot remained. In time the " grace 
cup " became an established custom not only at court, but 
in the castles of the nobility, and the dwellings of the hum- 
bler classes throughout the land. 

Margaret was also a devoted mother, and bestowed a 
great deal of care upon the education of her seven chil- 
dren. The learned Turgot was their preceptor and con- 
fessor, and when the queen was dying she said to him : 
" Farewell ! my life is drawing to a close ; to you I commit 
the care of my children ; teach them above all things to 
love and fear God." 

Her husband had been killed by treachery a short time 
previously, so the five princes and two princesses were left 

Their uncle Edgar was very kind to them all, and placed 
the girls, Matilda and Mary, at the convent, with their 
aunt Christina, where he knew that they would have 
a better training and education than he could possibly 
bestow on them. There they remained for a long time, 
and were carefully instructed in the art of reading as well 
as in good manners. 

Christina always hoped that they would both become 
nuns, and considering that they were entirely under her 
influence, with no parents, their brothers at a distance, and 
no home but the convent, it seems strange that they did 
not. But they were reserved for another fate. 

In those rude times the Norman nobles were so rough 

50 The Queens of England. 

and uncultivated that they had no respect for any woman 
excepting those consecrated to religion, consequently it 
was a common custom for young girls to dress in nun's 
attire for protection. 

But Christina made her nieces wear the great, thick, 
heavy, black veil because it was all settled in her mind that 
it was to be forever, and whenever she saw Matilda without 
hers, she scolded her and treated her very harshly. Poor 
Matilda found it so uncomfortable, and no doubt unbe- 
coming too, that she wept many a bitter tear over the 
infliction, and the moment she was out of her stern aunt's 
sight, she would fling the veil on the ground and stamp 
upon it. During the seven long years that she spent in the 
dreary convent, she must, many a time, have wished for 
her dear father to relieve her, as he once did. 

Matilda was passionately fond of music and devoted 
much time and attention to this art. When she became 
Queen of England she was exceedingly liberal in her re- 
wards to those monks who sang the church service well, 
and did everything in her power to encourage them. 

While at the convent, this princess received two offers of 
marriage. The first was from the Alan, to whom we referred 
at the beginning of this biography. But fortunately for 
her he died before she was called upon to give an answer, 
for she positively asserted that she would rather wear the 
odious veil forever than wed him. The other offer was 
from the young and handsome William Warren, Earl of 
Surrey. But him she did not love, and although he was one 
of the richest and most powerful of the baronets of Eng- 
land or Normandy, she refused him. She was somewhat 
sly on this occasion, for she pleaded her devotion to a 
religious life as excuse, though the real one was the affec- 
tion she entertained for Henry, fourth son of William the 


Matilda of Scotland. 


She was then at Wilton Abbey, near Winchester, the 
favorite home of the Norman king. Edgar Atheling, who 
was very fond of his niece, went frequently to see her, and 
Henry sometimes accompanied him. On such occasions 
it is probable that Matilda managed to leave off her veil, 
for she was too pretty not to be somewhat vain, and Henry 
was too young and ardent not to have his 
heart touched by her charms. 

This prince was surnamed Beauclerc 
because he was such a good student, and 
Matilda was so well, educated herself that 
she could appreciate his intellect and ac- 
complishments. Therefore she preferred 
him to Warren, and no doubt by a whis- 
pered word, or a sly glance, succeeded in 
letting him know it. 

Of all William the Conqueror's sons, 
Henry was most in favor among the 
English, owing to his having been born 
on their soil ; nevertheless it was a long 
time before he became king. 

When on his deathbed, his father called Henry to him 
and made the following prophecy : " Thy elder brothers 
may go before thee. Robert shall have Normandy, and 
William shall have England, but thou shalt be inheritor of 
all my honors, and shalt excel both thy brethren in riches 
and power." 

This dying prophecy was not fulfilled until he was thirty- 
two years old, when Wat Tyrrel's arrow placed him on the 
throne. It happened in this way : William Rufus, with his 
brother Henry and a large party of attendants, were hunt- 
ing one day, when Henry, by some mistake, was separated 
from the others and found himself quite alone in an ad- 
joining forest. Suddenly, the string of his cross-bow 


54 The Queens of England. 

snapped, and he entered the hut of the nearest forester to 
have it mended. 

A shrivelled-up old woman, who sat on the hearth-stone 
and looked like one of the witches in Macbeth, saluted him 
as king. He was very much surprised at this, and began to 
assure her that she had made a mistake. Without heeding 
his reply, she continued in a cracked voice, holding up her 
long, bony forefinger in token of warning, — 

" Hasty news to thee I bring, 
Henry, thou art now a king ; 
Mark the words and heed them well, 
Which to thee in sooth I tell, 
And recall them in the hour 
Of thy regal state and power." 

Henry was amazed, but had no time to reply before the 
Red King's attendants surrounded the door of the hut with 
news that their Sovereign had been shot and instantly 
killed. Wat Tyrrel's arrow had accidentally struck him 
in the head, and the unlucky marksman had fled to escape 

Prince Henry did not wait to weep over the sad fate of 
his brother, nor even to see his body properly cared for, 
but jumped into the saddle and made speed for Winchester. 
The cause of this haste was that the royal treasurer, who 
happened to be present at the chase, declared emphatically 
that the crown now belonged to Robert, and started on a 
race with Henry to announce it at the Norman palace. 
But Robert was in the Holy Land, so, with drawn sword, 
Henry forced the treasurer to give up his keys, and at once 
took possession of the royal robes, jewels, and regalia. This 
high-handed action caused dissatisfaction among those 
nobles who owned lands in Normandy, for they were de- 
sirous that their duke should succeed ; so it was resolved 
to settle the question in the council chamber. All the 


iioo. Matilda of Scotland. 57 

nobles and prelates assembled, and while they were de- 
bating the matter, Henry gathered a crowd about him in 
, the street, and eloquently pleaded his own cause. First 
he reminded them that he was a born Englishman, then 
he made the most flattering promises, and concluded his 
speech by assuring them that they should have an English 
* queen, and be governed by English laws. Loud shouts 
and hurrahs greeted his ears, and " Long live Henry, King 
of England ! " passed from mouth to mouth, until it was 
taken up in the council hall itself, and thus, by^the voice of 
the people was the succession settled. 

On the day after this scene Henry was crowned at West- 
minster Abbey. The promises he made he fully intended 
to execute, and set about his work of reform without delay. 
His popularity increased, and when he made known his 
intention to marry Matilda, a descendant of their beloved 
King Alfred, and a girl educated in England, it met with 
great favor. 

He then made a formal proposal for her to her brother, 
the King of Scotland. But the Abbess Christina was 
determined not to give her up without a struggle , more- 
over, she was a Saxon, and objected to having the Norman 
line strengthened by such a union •, so she declared that 
Matilda was a consecrated nun, whom it would be a sacri- 
lege to marry. 

Henry did not dare to act in defiance of the church, 
though he had resolved on this marriage, so he wrote to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury asking advice. That prel- 
ate refused to decide so important a question alone, but 
summoned a council of churchmen, before whom Matilda 
was requested to appear. 

This must have been a most embarrassing ordeal for a 
young girl brought up in the strict seclusion of a convent, 
but she was equal to it, and answered all the questions 

58 - The Queens of England. 

put to her clearly and intelligibly. They asked her whether 
she had taken any vows, saying that if so, no motive could 
induce them to consent to their being broken. The prin- 
cess denied that she had ever done so. The archbishop 
asked her if she had not worn the black veil at her father's 
court, and subsequently in the nunneries of Rumsey and 

" I do not deny," she replied, " having worn the veil in 
my father's court •, for when I was a child my aunt Christina 
put a piece of black cloth over my head ; but when my 
father saw it, he snatched it off in great rage, and swore 
at the person who had put it on me, observing at the same 
time that it was his intention to give me in marriage, not to 
devote me to the church." 

Then she told how she had worn the veil for protection 
at first, and afterwards, because her aunt would beat and 
scold her whenever she left it off. 

This explanation was considered perfectly satisfactory, 
and the council pronounced Matilda free to contract mar- 
riage with the king. 

Now, although she loved Henry, and certainly had no 
desire to remain longer in the convent, yet she hesitated 
about getting married because she had heard the king 
was not so good and virtuous as he ought to be, and she 
feared to trust her happiness in his keeping. But those 
connected with the Saxon royal line entreated her with 
these words : " O most noble and most gracious of women, 
if thou wouldst, thou couldst raise up the ancient honor of 
England , thou wouldst be a pledge of reconciliation ; but 
if thou refusest, the enmity between the Saxon and Nor- 
man races will be eternal ; human blood will never cease 
to flow," 

This was a strong argument in favor of her marriage. 
She was to become a bond of peace to a divided nation, 

"oo. Matilda of Scotland. 6i 

and she ceased to object when Henry promised to be a 
constitutional monarch, and observe the laws and privileges 
established by Alfred. 

Three years and six months after his coronation Henry 
and Matilda were married, and the latter was crowned at 
Westminster. Before performing the ceremony, the arch- 
bishop stood up in the pulpit, and related the whole history 
of the princess's life, because he wanted to leave no room 
for doubt that she was justified in getting married. He 
then asked in a loud tone whether anybody present had 
an objection to raise. All declared that the matter was 
rightly settled. 

This marriage proved one of the happiest events for the 
English nation, for the queen's thoughts were always for 
the common people, and she urged her husband to grant 
them all their rights and privileges. One of his first acts 
was to abolish the curfew at her request, for she said that 
everj'body ought to be permitted to sit up and enjoy an 
evening chat just as long as they pleased. 

Henry's Anglo-Saxon subjects soon became so warmly 
attached to him, that they were anxious to show him an 
allegiance which the stern laws of his father, or of the Red 
King, never could have forced from them. They loved 
the queen also, because they knew that a great deal of 
their happiness was the result of her good influence. 



The royal couple lived at Westminster, in the palace of 
Edward the Confessor, and Matilda devoted much of her 
time to the care of the sick and the needy. She was so 
strict concerning her religious duties, that every day in 
Lent she went to Westminster Abbey barefooted and 
clothed in a garment of haircloth. Then she would wash 
and kiss the feet of the poorest people. One day a courtier 
reproved her for it, but she replied, as the following curious 
dialogue, taken from a rhyming chronicle of the day, will 
show, — 

" Madam, for God's love is this well ado 
' To handle such unclean limbs and to kiss so ? 

Foul would the king think if this thing he wist, 
And right well avile him ere he yom- lips kist." 
" Sir, sir ! " quoth the queen, "be still. WTiy say you so? 
Our Lord himself example gave for to do so." 

On another occasion, her brother, the King of Scotland, 
who was on a visit to the English court, entered Matilda's 
apartments, and found her on her knees washing the feet 
of some old beggars. She looked up, and asked him if 
he would not assist her in this work of charity and humili- 
ation, for the good of his soul. His majesty smiled and 
left the room without making any reply. Perhaps as he 
had never had any practice in that sort of labor he feared 
that he might not be able to perform it skilfully, or it may 
be that he did not care to encourage his sister in the hu- 
mility which she seemed inclined to carry to excess. How- 


iioo. Matilda of Scotland. 63 

ever, Matilda's good works were not all directed in one 
channel, for she tried to benefit every class of her subjects, 
the rich as well as the poor. Once when she was obliged 
to cross the river Lea on horseback, the tide was so high 
that she ran great danger of being drowned, so she caused 
a fine arched bridge to be built high up the stream. The 
Saxons called it the Bow Bridge. Then she built more of 
these structures, and to insure their being kept in good 
repair, she presented a mill or dwelling-house to those whom 
she selected to attend to them. 

She planned new roads and repaired old ones, thus facil- 
itating travel through the wild, uncultivated parts of the 
country, so that in time merchants could cross the desolate 
moors with their wares without incurring much risk. 

All this work was probably done during her husband's 
absence from home when she was regent and could call on 
the public treasury, for certainly her private purse could 
never have enabled her to undergo such a heavy outlay. 
But that made no difference to her subjects, for they en- 
joyed the benefit of her improvements, and looked upon 
her as a real benefactress. 

Henry's wise laws did not give universal satisfaction by 
any means ; for the Norman nobles objected to any check 
being placed on their actions. They had been used to 
doing just exactly as they pleased with only their sweet 
wills to govern them, and now when they found that they 
could not commit crimes and outrages against the lower 
classes without incurring punishment of some sort they 
made great complaints. They could not understand why 
the laws that protected them and their families should 
apply equally to the common people. Their amusements 
were restrained, and their lawlessness no longer had free 
play. So they spoke with utter contempt of " that Saxon 
woman," as they called Matilda, and actually went so far 

64 The Queens of England. 

as to apply ridiculous nicknames to the royal couple, before 
their very faces. 

Just two years had passed since their marriage, when 
Duke Robert returned from the Holy Land. He deter- 
mined at once to invade England. Now, as Henry's fleet 
was manned by Normans, under the influence of Norman 
chiefs, they refused to guard the coasts of England against 
their duke, but went out to meet him, and brought him in 
triumph to Portsmouth, where he was joined by nearly all 
the Anglo-Norman nobles, as well as a great many of the 
English themselves. 

Well, Robert marched straight on to Winchester, but with 
all his faults, he proved himself a true gentleman on this 
occasion ; for whSn he got there he heard that Matilda 
had a little baby and was ill in bed, so he refused to storm 
the city. 

This consideration on his part pleased the queen so 
much, that she used her influence to bring about a recon- 
ciliation between her husband and his brother, and Henry 
invited Robert to court, where he was feasted and enter- 
tained in a sumptuous manner. The queen and her 
brother-in-law had one taste in common : they both loved 
music. It is only "a pity that all Robert's fancies were 
not so refined and harmless. 

Poets and minstrels from every part of Europe flocked 
to Matilda's court to recite their verses or sing their songs 
in her presence, and she took great pains to receive them 
kindly and make them welcome. The only objection that 
could be made to this custom, was that it cost too much 
money, for the queen was exceedingly liberal with her 
rewards. Robert was so well pleased with the treatment 
he received at his brother's court, that he prolonged 
his stay six months, and he and the queen passed a 
great deal of time in each other's society singing and 

1 104. 

Matilda of Scotland. 


studying music ; and quite a warm affection grew up 
between them. 

[A.D. 1 104.] The following year the Duke of Normandy 
visited England again, probably to demand the payment of 
his pension. As he 
was accompanied 
by only twelve gen- 
tlemen it could 
scarcely have been 
his purpose to raise 
a revolt. Never- 
theless, when Hen- 
ry heard of his ar- 
rival he said, " By 
my faith, should he 
fall into my hands, 
I will keep him so 
closely imprisoned 
that he shall never 
give me any more 

A friend of Rob- 
ert's heard this 
remark, and has- 
tened to warn him 
of his danger, ad- 
vising him to seek 
the queen's protec- 
tion, which he was very glad to do. She spoke kind 
and comforting words, assuring him that she would do 
all in her power to save him from the anger of the king. 
But Robert was so alarmed tha*^ he scarcely listened to 
what she said. He declared himself ready to make almost 
any sacrifice to insure his personal safety, and even offered 



The Queens of England. 

to dispense with the annual sum the king regularly allowed 
him for resigning his claim to the throne. 

When Henry heard this, he 
sent for the queen to come to 
him and bring Duke Robert 
with her. She did so, and 
the duke thus addressed his 
brother : 

" Fair sire, I am come to 
see you out of affection, and 
not to injure either you or 
yours. We are brothers, born 
of one father and one mother. 
If I am the eldest, you have 
the honor of the crown, which 
is a much better thing. I love 
you well, and thus it ought to 
be. I have given over to the 
queen all you owe me for this 
kingdom. We will be friends 
now and exchange gifts of jew- 
els, dogs, and birds." 

The king replied : " We .will 
do as you say, with thanks." 

Now, one of Robert's vices 
was intemperance, which was 
so great, that he would often 
be in a state of intoxication 
for days together. So, not 
long after his friendly speech, 
when he was under the influence of wine, he accused 
Henry of having cheated him out of his pension, by 
making Matilda mislead him with her fair words. Of 
course, after that there could be nothing but bitter and 


/I04- Matilda of Scotland. 57 

unkind feelings between the royal brothers, and Robert 
made so many threats, that the king embarked for Nor- 
mandy, determined to make war on him. 

But when he got there,^nselm, the old archbishop, 
effected a reconciliation. 

Anselm then returned to England and gave Matilda 
much pain, by putting in force a plan that he had agreed 
upon with Henry. It was to forbid any of the Anglo- 
Saxon clergy to marry, and to turn those out cf the church 
who were already married. Two hundred of these poor 
unfortunates stood barefooted in the streets of London, 
when Henry returned, begging for compassion. He turned 
aside, and showed plainly that they were to look for 
neither aid nor sympathy from him, while the good Ma- 
tilda wept bitterly, saying that " she dared not interfere." 

At this time the royal couple had two children, a boy 
named William, and a little daughter who was placed at 
Wilton Abbey for care and education. 

The Anglo-Normans were so much pleased with the 
Saxon style of wearing their hair, which was in long ring- 
lets flowing to their shoulders, their mouths and chins 
covered with it too, that they soon imitated them. The 
king especially was remarkable for the beauty of his locks, 
which he cherished with care, though the Norman clergy 
highly disapproved of such vanity. 

One day, while Henry was in Normandy, he and his 
train entered a church, where the bishop began to preach 
about the sinfulness of this new fashion, saying, " It was a 
device of the evil one to bring souls into everlasting per- 
dition, the moustached, bearded, and long-haired men 
resembling filthy goats." The discourse was so touching 
that the King of England and his courtiers wept. Then 
the bishop drew a large pair of scissors from his sleeve 
and proceeded to crop off the curls and beards of his 


The Queens of England, 

hearers, beginning with Henry, who was anxious to prove 
the sincerity of his tears. Thus for nearly an hour the 
church resembled a barber-shop, and afterwards Henry 
published an edict forever ajjolishing such sinful adorn- 
ments as ringlets and beards. 

After this Henry pursued the war in Normandy, com 
pletely conquered that country, and returned in triumph 
to England with Edgar Atheling, Robert, and four hundred 
valiant knights as prisoners. 


He then removed his court to Windsor Castle, which 
had been completed by Matilda during his absence. It 
now became necessary for Henry to spend part of every 
year in Normandy, as he was ruler of that country as well 
as of England. 

In 1 1 09 he received an ambassador from the Emperor 
Henry V., who came to make a proposal for the hand of 
the little Princess Matilda, then only six years of age. 
The offer was accepted, but the child was permitted to 
remain at home until she had reached the mature age of 
twelve, when she was married and crowned in the cathedral 
of Mentz. The little empress was very kindly treated by 

"19- Matilda of Scotland. G9 

her husband, who was forty years her senior ; and she was 
so amiable and pretty, that she won the hearts of the Ger- 
man princes, his sons. 

When Prince William was twelve years old, the king 
took him to Normandy, and presented him, with great 
pomp, as heir to the duchy. The barons and freemen swore 
fealty to him. 

The royal family passed the following Christmas at the 
Abbey of St. Al ban's as guests of the Abbot Richard, who 
invited them, as well as a large company of prelates and 
nobles, to assist at the consecration of the abbey. In a 
rich illuminated volume, called the Golden Book of St. 
Alban's, (now in the British Museum,) is a liiceness of -the 
queen, evidently made at this time. 

In the year 11 17, a fresh revolt called Henry to Nor- 
rfiandy again, and during his absence " the Good Queen," 
whose health had been failing for many months, died. 
To the last hour of her life she was a beautiful example 
of piety and self-denial, and her virtues had made her so 
dear to her subjects of every class, that she was passion- 
ately lamented by them all. She was buried at Westmin- 
ster Abbey near her royal uncle, Edward the Confessor. 

After her death, her three Saxon maids of honor retired 
to a hermitage where there was a holy well, or medicinal 
spring, and established a convent there. They were pious 
ladies, always ready to bestow alms and relieve the sick and 
suffering, and passed the rest of their lives in imitating the 
charitable, worthy deeds of their royal mistress. 

-Prince William never returned to England after the 
death of his mother, but spent much of his time fighting 
against the King of France, at his father's side. 

In 1 1 19 he married Alice, daughter of the Eari of 
Anjou. A year later he accompanied his father to Harfleur 
for the purpose of embarking for England. The king set 

70 The Queens of England. 

sail the same night, leaving the prince to follow in the 
"White Ship" the finest vessel in the Norman navy. 
William went on board with a gay party of young friends, 
and ordered three casks of wine to be given to the 
ship's crew. This was a mistake, for the sailors were, 
for the most part, intoxicated when they sailed. Prince 
William, desiring to overtake the rest of the fleet, ordered 
his captain to put up all his sails, and the " White Ship " 
went rushing through the water with such dangerous speed, 
that she suddenly struck a rock and began to sink. All 
was terror and confusion. The life-boat was launched, and 
the young heir of England, with several of his compan- 
ions, got intent, and would probably have been able to row 
back to the Norman shore in safety ; but the cries of his 
half-sister calling on him for assistance reached his ear. 
He commanded the boat back, and as soon as it neared 
the ship, such numbers sprang into it that it immediately 
sank. Out of three hundred persons who embarked on 
the ill-fated vessel only one escaped to tell the sad tale. 
This was a poor butcher, who climbed to the top of the 
mast, and was rescued next morning by some fishermen. 

The report of the disaster reached England next day, 
but there was nobody bold enough to carry it to the king, 
so for three days he was left in suspense. 

At length his private little page was selected to break 
the news to the bereaved father. Entering the room with 
pattering steps and a sorrowful mien, the child knelt down 
at Henrj^'s feet and told him of the dreadful catastrophe. 
He sank upon the floor in a swoon, from which he did not 
recover for many minutes. In all his life Henry I. was 
never known to smile again. 

[A.D. 1 1 20.] Three years after the death of Queen Ma- 
tilda he "married Adelicia of Louvaine, sumamed the Fair 
Maid of Brabant, a lady of distinguished beauty and rare 

Matilda of Scotland. 


talent, ^he occupied the English throne too short a time 
for us to devote a separate chapter to her reign. She was 
a good, kind stepmother to the little Empress Matilda, 
and took excellent care of her. But she could not have 
been very happy as the wife of Henry I., because his 
troubles made him such a cross, melancholy old man that 
even his greatest nobles were afraid to approach him. He 
died in Normandy in 1135, and three years later Adelicia 
married William de Albini. 

She had seven children after her second marriage, from 
one of whom by lineal descent were two of the most un-. 
fortunate of all the queens of England, — Anna Boleyn 
and Katherine Howard. 



(A.D. 1106-1151). 

Matilda of Boulogne was the last of the Anglo-Norman 
queens, and the only child of the Count and Countess of 
Boulogne. She was educated at the Convent of Bermond- 
sey, which was founded by her mother, but it was never 
intended that she should spend her life there, because, at a 
very early age, she was married to Stephen de Blois, a 
nephew of Henry I. 

Stephen was a handsome, bright, intellectual boy when 
he went to seek his fortune at the court of England, and 
Henry Beauclerc was pleased to have an opportunity of 
showing kindness to the son of his sister Adela, Countess 
of Bl^s, whom he had always loved very tenderly. 

So he knighted the youth, and bestowed upon him the 
hand of his queen's niece Matilda, the heiress of Boulogne. 
After the marriage, the king presented the young couple 
with the Tower-Royal, a strongly fortified palace, which 
became their London residence. 

Stephen had embarked on board the ill-fated Blanche 
Nef, or White Ship, with his cousin William, but prudently 
left just before the vessel sailed, saying: "She was too 
much crowded with foolish, headstrong young people." 

After the death of his son William, the king placed his 
affections on his nephew, and always liked his companion- 
ship in all his voyages. Stephen was a great favorite in 


Matilda of Boulogne. 


England, for he was as affable and agreeable to the poorest 
and humblest people as he was lo the nobles. His wife, 
too, was daily winning hearts, and when the king's health 
began to decline, it was fondly hoped that this young couple 
would succeed him instead of his daughter, the Empress 
Matilda, And so they did, for no sooner was King Henry's 


death announced than Stephen left Normandy, and em- 
barked for Dover, leaving the last rites of his deceased 
uncle to the care of Robert, Earl of Gloucester. 

He hastened on to London in the midst of a terrible 
thunder-storm, and convened an assembly of barons, before 
whom the steward of King Henr\''s household swore that 
the late sovereign had disinherited the Empress Matilda 

y(> The Queens of England. 

on his deathbed, and named Stephen as his heir. There- 
upon the Archbishop of Canterbury absolved the nobles 
from the oath of fealty they had twice sworn to the daughter 
of their dead king, and Stephen was crowned without 

This was easily managed, because the Empress Matilda, 
being the wife of a foreign prince, was residing on the 
continent, and therefore out of the wiy. Besides, at the 
time of her father's death, her husband was dangerously 
ill, and she had no thought for anything but the care he 
required. When he recovered she determined to remain 
quiet for awhile to watch the condition of affairs in England. 

[A.D. 1 136.] Meanwhile Queen Matilda had given birth 
to a son, who was named Eustace, and three months after 
her husband had claimed the crown, her own coronation 
took place on Easter Sunday, 1136. 

Stephen began his reign by making some wise and pop- 
ular laws, but he permitted his nobles to build or fortify 
over a thousand castles. This was a grave mistake, because 
the owners of these strongholds could shut themselves up 
in them and defy the crown when they chose. 

The first sad experience Stephen had in this respect was 
when the Earl of Devonshire refused to obey him, or to 
acknowledge his right as king. Stephen proceeded to 
chastise him, when the King of Scotland, taking advantage 
of this disturbance, invaded the northern counties under 
pretence of revenging the wrongs of his niece, the Empress 
Matilda, though Queen Matilda stood in the same degree 
of relationship to him as the empress did. 

Stephen met the King of Scotland with a large army, 
but Queen Matilda interposed between the two sovereigns, 
and settled all differences without any bloodshed. 

[A.D. 1137.] This happy termination of the storm that 
had been gathering was celebrated by a series of rejoicings, 

1 137- Matilda of Boulogne. yj 

but in the midst of them Stephen was seized with an illness 
so serious that it resulted in a stupor closely resembling 
death. It was reported in Normandy that he really had 

Thereupon the party of the Empress Matilda imme- 
diately began to take measures to place her on the throne, 
her husband, the Count of Anjou, entering Normandy at 
the head of an army to assert her right. Then Stephen's 
elder brother, Theobold, put in his claim. Meanwhile 
Stephen recovered, and no sooner did he see the danger 
that threatened him, than, leaving his wife to look out for 
his interests in England, he hastened with his little son to 
France, and by means of a large bribe induced King Louis 
VII. to acknowledge the child's claim to the earldom of 
Boulogne, which Queen Matilda had bestowed on the 

During King Stephen's absence some enormous fires 
occurred in different parts of England which seemed to be 
the work of discontented subjects ; conspiracies were formed 
in favor of the Empress Matilda, and, what was worst of 
all, the King of Scotland made another invasion into 
Northumberland. But Queen Matilda showed herself a 
woman of courage and determination, for she actually went 
in person to fight the insurgents, and kept them at bay 
until her husband arrived and drove the Scottish army 
back into their own country. 

The party that favored the empress had become so 
powerful by the autumn of 1140 that, had she acted 
promptly, she would certainly have gained the prize she 
sought. But she did not enter England until Stephen had 
taken possession of the castles as well as of the great wealth 
of three bishops who had opposed him. 

Consequently, when she took up her abode at Arundel 
Castle, Stephen might perfectly well have made her his 


The Queens of England. 

prisoner ; but he remembered what a debt of gratitude h< 
owed to her father, and spared her for the sake of his 
benefactor. When she expressed her desire to remove tc 
the Castle of Bristol, he was even so gallant as to offei 

his brother, the Bishop of Winchester, as escort, and 
to pledge his word that she should not be molested by 
the way. 

The Earl of Gloucester was still fighting for his sister's 
rights when Queen Matilda went, with her son Eustace, to 
France for the purpose of strengthening her husband's 
cause by the aid of her foreign relations. While there, a 

"41- Matilda of Boulogne. 7^ 

marriage was negotiated between Constance, sister of Louis 
I., and little Eustace, who was just four years old. 

Matilda was still in France when the battle of Lincoln, 
so disastrous to Stephen's cause, was fought. 

It happened that Stephen had shut up a number of the 
Empress Matilda's partisans and their families when he 
besieged the town of Lincoln ; among these was the Earl of 
Gloucester's youngest daughter, who had recently married 
her cousin, the Earl of Chester. So determined were the 

father and husband to liberate her, that, with all their 
followers, they swam across the river Trent, behind which 
Stephen and his army thought themselves safely encamped, 
and fiercely attacked him in their dripping garments. 

Stephen fought desperately, until he was left almost 
alone on the field, when a stout knight seized him and led 
him captive before the Empress Matilda, who ordered him 
into close confinement in Bristol Castle. 

Then the Empress Matilda made her public entry into 
the city of Winchester, where she was received in state -by 
Stephen's brother, the bishop of that place, who excom- 
municated all those who adhered to the imprisoned king, 


The Queens of England. 

and promised absolution to all those who joined the cause 
of the empress. 

At this melancholy juncture Queen Matilda returned 
from France. She at once made a personal appeal to the 
citizens of London, with whom she had always been pop- 
ular, and so readily did they listen to her complaint that 
they demanded the liberation of the king. But her brother- 
in-law, Henry de Blois, the Bishop of Winchester, paid no 
attention to the demand ; he even refused to have Queen 
Matilda's address to the Synod in behalf of her husband 

A scold's bridle. 

read aloud, and boldly declared the Empress Matilda 
sovereign of England. 

Then Queen Matilda made a pathetic appeal to this 
haughty, arrogant woman in behalf of Stephen, who re- 
mained, heavily ironed, in prison. She assured the empress 
that the loss of power was of little moment ; all she asked 
was that Her husband might be set at liberty. She even 
proposed that if her life were spared, and her son were 
permitted to enjoy the Earldom of Boulogne, she would 
enter a convent, her husband a monastery, and promised 
that both would forever forego all claim to the crown of 

114I* Matilda of Boulogne. S3 

This petition, as well as all the others that King Stephen's 
wife had made to the cruel empress, was rejected with con- 
tempt. But the devoted wife was not to be baffled when 
working for her husband's life and pardon, so taking 
advantage.of a misunderstanding that arose between the 
Bishop of Winchester and the empress, she induced that 
prelate to absolve all those of her husband's party whom 
he had previously excommunicated, and to aid her in the 
deliverance of his brother. 

Then, in the name of her son, Prince Eustace, she raised 
the standard of the captive king in Kent and Surrey, and 
a strong army was soon organized in her support. 

Meanwhile the empress had become exceeding unpopu- 
lar, and when the citizens of London found that she 
proposed to treat them as a conquered nation, which her 
demand for a subsidy proved, they asked leave to 

The empress retired to her palace of Westminster, wher? 
she awaited the arrival of a deputy with the bags of gold 
she felt sure they would send. Suddenly the bells of 
London rang out an alarm, and every man in the city and 
its vicinity came out of his house carrying a sword. A 
formidable army soon collected, ready to dispute any 
unjust demand for subsidies, and proceeded to the palace. 

But the empress, with her barons and chevaliers, had 
made good their escape on horseback, and were far on the 
road to Oxford when the mob broke open the doors of the 

The King of Scotland was with his niece, but he was so 
disgusted with her behavior that he made the best of his 
way to his own borders. By the time the empress reached 
Oxford, all of her train had deserted excepting the Duke 
of Gloucester, with whom she entered the city alone. 

With a large army ready to support her, Queen Matilda 

84 The Queens of England. 

now returned to London, where she was received by the 
populace with open arms. Her next step was to go with 
her son to the Bishop of Winchester and entreat him to 
assist her in once more placing her husband on the throne. 

He promised to do so, and urged the queen to put her- 
self at the head of her army and march to Winchester. At 
her approach, the prelate retired to his castle in the 
suburbs, and a blockade was established that made the 
empress tremble in her palace. No doubt, during the two 
months of famine and warfare that succeeded, she regretted 
more than once the scorn with which she had repulsed her 
cousin's humble appeal. At last, when at least twenty-five 
churches and monasteries had been destroyed, and the 
empress knew that her position was becoming daily more 
dangerous, she prevailed on her brother, the Duke of 
Gloucester, to assist her to escape. He and the King of 
Scotland attempted to do so by forcing their way through 
the besiegers. 

The Duke of Gloucester fought bravely, but was com- 
pelled to surrender at last, when he was made captive and 
conducted before Queen Matilda. The King of Scotland 
escaped with the empress, and got as far as Devizes, where 
the queen's soldiers pursued them so closely that they 
would certainly have been captured but for a stratagem to 
which the empress was compelled to resort for safety. She 
had herself rolled in a winding-sheet, and placed in a 
coffin, and was in this manner carried on the shoulders of 
some of her faithful partisans to the fortress of Gloucester, 
which belonged to her brother. There she was deposited 
at last, after many hours of travel, worn out with fasting 
and terror. 

[A.D. 1 141.] The Duke of Gloucester was so necessary 
to his party, that the empress opened communication with 
Queen Matilda to effect his release. But the only terms 


"41- Matilda of Boulogne. ^7 

to which the devoted wife would listen, were those that 
would secure the restoration of her husband. Consequently, 
after many propositions had been made on one side and 
rejected on the other, and after Queen Matilda had 
threatened severe measures against Gloucester, the illus- 
trious prisoners were exchanged. This important evetit 
took place in November, 1141. 

Stephen had another attack of his old malady soon aftef 
his release, but he recovered with the tender care bestowed 
upon him by his loving wife, and then ehtered the field 
again, determined to fight more desperately than ever. 

Then the party of the empress thought they would claim 
the assistance of her husband, the Count of Anjou, for 
which purpose the Duke of Gloucester was despatched to 
Normandy. Before leaving England, however, he saw his 
sister established at the Castle of Oxford, where he felt 
perfectly certain of her safety. 

But Stephen was so bent upon capturing the empress 
that he laid siege to the fortress she occupied and reduced 
her to such distress for want of provisions that she escaped 
one night with only four attendants. The fugitives dressed 
themselves from head to foot in white, and as the ground 
was all covered with snow, they moved noiselessly and 
unnoticed along, protected by the banks of snow and ice 
along the Thames, through a blinding stonn that flew full 
in their faces. When at a safe distance from the castle, 
they walked faster, over hedges and ditches, until they 
reached a town six miles off, where they obtained horses 
and rode on to Wallingford the same night. 

There the empress met her brother, who had just 
returned from Nonnandy. The Count of Anjou had not 
seen fit to comply with the request of his wife's party for 
assistance, but compromised by sending Prince Henry to 
see his mother, keeping their other child, Geoffrey, with 


The Queens of England. 

him. He was evidently not anxious to see her himself. 
Three years later the count sent a train of Norman nobles 
to England to reclaim his heir. The Duke of Gloucester 
accompanied his nephew part of the way, and then bade 
him farewell forever ; for he died in October, 1147. De- 
prived of the support of this true-hearted brother, the 
Empress Matilda abandoned hope and left England, nearly 
all of her friends having deserted her. 

Stephen and Matilda were so delighted at the departure 
of the empress, and the establishment of peace, that they 
celebrated the following Christmas with unusual splendor, 
and prevailed upon some of the barons to swear fealty to 
their son, Eustace, then thirteen years old, and acknowl- 
edge him as heir-apparent to the throne. 

In 1 148, Queen Matilda founded and endowed the 
Church of St. Katherine, by the tower; also the Royal 
Abbey of Feversham in Kent. Then she spent a few 
months quietly at the convent. But her health had begun 
to decline, and she died of a fever on the 3d of May, 1151, 
at the age of forty-seven. 

She was buried at the new abbey of Feversham, and 
was deeply lamented by all who knew her. About three 
years later Stephen was laid beside his beloved queen. 



(A.D. 1134— 1204.) 

Eleanora was born in the beautiful province of Aqui- 
taine, a name that Julius Caesar gave to the south of Gaul 
on account of its numerous rivers and fine ports. The 
people liked the name and adopted it ; but it was really 
the ancient kingdom of Provence. 

Eleanora and her sister Petronilla were daughters of 
William, Count of Poitou, such a good, piou^ man, that as 
he happened to be in the Holy Land at the time of his 
death, he was forever after called St. William. 

The grandfather of these girls was William IX., not a 
very good man, but a learned one, and an excellent poet. 
The most polished and civilized people on the face of the 
earth in the 12th and 13th centuries were to be found in 
Provence, and their language, which was a mixture of 
French and Italian, was particularly adapted for poetry 
and music. This is no doubt the reason why there were 
so many minstrels in that country, who wandered about 
from one nobleman's house to another, singing their songs 
and reciting their poems. 

, William IX. was a troubadour, and his compositions 
were so popular that they became models for all the others. 
He was the most powerful prince in all Europe, but as he 
advanced in years his conscience began to trouble him, and 



The Queens of England. 

he thought he must reform before it was too late. So, 
when Eleanora was about fourteen years of age, he ap* 
pointed her ruler of Aquitaine in his place, assembled all 
the nobles of the land, and made them take an oath of 
allegiance to her, because, as he told them, he wished to 
occupy himself with spiritual matters. 

This done, he planned a marriage between Eleanora 
and the son of Louis VI. of France. The young people 

had no objections to 
offer, and they were 
married at Bordeaux 
without delay, 

[A.D. 1 137.] As 
soon as they were 
crowned Duke and 
Duchess of Aqui- 
taine, William IX. 
laid aside his royal 
robes forever. At- 
tired in a hermit's 
gown, he started 
on a pilgrimage to 
Spain, and passed 
several years in dif- 
ferent caves in the gloomy, rocky wilderness, where he 
ended his days. 

Now, Eleanora was a great heiress, because all the rich 
territory that her grandfather had owned passed into her 

Afterwards, young Louis was crowned Duke of Guienne, 
when he and his youthful bride were summoned to France 
to attend the death-bed of his father, Louis VI., the good 
king and wise law - maker. His dying words were : 
" Remember, royalty is a public trust, for the exercise of 





1 137- Eleanora of Aquitaine. 93 

which a rigorous account will be exacted by Him who has 

the sole disposal of crowns and sceptres." 

Louis was impressed by these words, but they had little 
weight with the thoughtless Eleanora. She was beautiful 
and accomplished, but seemed to think that the chief 
object in life was enjoyment. She was a fine musician, 
and wrote some beautiful poetry, which she set to music. 
These verses were remembered and sung long after she 
had ceased to live, which proves that they must have had 
considerable merit. 

Eleanora's southern subjects adored her,, and were 
dreadfully grieved whenever she had ta leave them to 
return to her court at Paris. She preferred to stay among 
them, too, because, as she had entire control of affairs in 
the south, all was life and fun there, while her husband's 
palace was under such rigid rule that it was almost like a 

She gave festivals in Provence, called " Courts of Love," 
that were very popular among her subjects. On such 
occasions she, with her ladies-in-waiting, would receive 
all the troubadours who chose to come with their new 
poems and songs. The ladies would hear them, and then 
pronounce sentence upon them, and as Eleanora was a 
very accomplished poetess, her judgment was considered 
of great value. 

She could not induce her husband to take part in these 
amusements, yet she had considerable influence over him, 
.which, unfortunately, once led him to commit an act of 
great injustice. It was on account of her sister, Petronilla, 
whose beauty was equal to her own, and whose sense of 
right was sadly wanting. This princess happened to fall 
in love with a certain young count, whose affection she 
was determined to have, although he was a married man. 
So she and Eleanora put their heads together and planned, 

94 The Queens of England. 

until they brought about a divorce between the count and 
his wife for some trifling excuse. Then Petronilla married 
him. But the former wife had a brother, the Count of 
Champagne, who would not stand such treatment towards 
his sister, so he laid the matter before the pope, who com- 
manded the divorced count to leave his new wife immedi- 
ately and take back the former one. This so enraged 
Eleanora that she persuaded her husband to punish the 
Count of Champagne. Louis, who had another cause of 
offence against this man, did not need much urging, and 
invaded his country at the head of a large army. They 
destroyed right and ^ left until they came to the town of 
Vitry, which they began to storm ; thirteen hundred of the 
terrified inhabitants rushed to the cathedral and locked 
themselves in for safety. The building was set on fire by 
the besiegers, and every soul was burned to death. About 
this period the eloquent St. Bernard came to Burgundy 
and preached the crusade. Such crowds of people flocked 
to hear him that they were obliged to meet in the market 
place, for there was no church in the town nearly large 
enough to contain them. King Louis and Queen Eleanora 
were present also, and the saint spoke so eloquently, and 
in such harsh tones, about the burning of the Vitry cathe- 
dral that they both felt very repentant. The king resolved 
to atone for the horrible deed by going to the Holy Land 
to fight for the Christian cause. That was all very well, 
and one can only admire him for such a resolution. But 
the queen vowed that she would accompany her lord, and 
lead her southern forces in person. This was a silly deter- 
mination for a woman, and the excellent Abbot Suger tried 
to persuade her to give up all idea of such a wild expe- 
dition, but she had made up her mind to become a female 
crusader, and no argument could change her. Throughout 
her life, she was weak where she ought to have been 

1 141- Eleanora of Aquitaine. 97 

strong, and determined where timidity would have been, 
by far, more becoming and womanly. The king did not 
oppose her crusade ; but even if he had, she would have 
forced him to yield to her will. 

She received the holy cross from the hand of St. Ber- 
nard, and immediately put on the dress of an Amazon and 
mounted a horse. All the court ladies did the same, call- 
ing themselves the queen's body-guard. Then they formed 
in parade every day, and practised military exercise in 
public, making themselves as ridiculous as possible. In 
short, they were a band of madwomen, and nobody could 
control them. When once they had become Amazons they 
abandoned all womanly occupations, consequently had no 
use for their distaffs ; these they sent to all the knights and 
nobles who kept out of this insane expedition. Thus, many 
of them being too weak to stand such a taunt, were 
actually shamed into joining though their good sense 
opposed it. 

King Louis managed his difficult enterprise with a good 
deal of courage and prudence, but it would have required 
a greater general than the world has ever known to disci- 
pline a regiment of fantastic women. The freaks of these 
female warriors were the cause of all the misfortunes that 
befell the army, for the king, after landing in Thrace, sent 
them forward with his choicest troops, and told them 
exactly how to choose their camp so that they would over- 
look the valley of Laodicea. He remained about five 
miles behind with the baggage, of which there was a large 
supply, and had to stop frequently to fight the bands of 
Arabs who attacked him. 

Instead of obeying her husband's directions. Queen 
Eleanora insisted that her part of the army should halt in 
a lovely valley, full of grass and flowers. This inviting 
spot caught her fancy, and military discipline became of 
secondary importance to her. 

98 The Queens of England. 

It was almost night when the king approached the 
valley ; he could not distinguish his troops on the elevated 
ground where they ought to have been, and knew not what 
to make of it. The queen was not encamped there, that 
was certain, so there was nothing for him to do but to 
enter the valley in search of her. Soon after he was 
attacked from the hills by swarms of Arabs, and had to 
move in and out among the rocks to dodge them. At one 
time he barely escaped with his life by climbing a tree, 
whence he fought desperately. It was daylight before he 
discovered the troops that he had sent in advance. During 
the night seven thousand French soldiers had been killed, 
the provisions had been cut off, the baggage, containing all 
the fine clothing of the lady warriors, had been plundered 
by the Arabs, and the whole army was in great distress. 
Fortunately, Eleanora had an uncle living near by; his 
name was Prince Raymond, and he was the handsomest 
man of his time. He threw open his friendly gates to the 
defeated French army, and they were glad to rest and 
refresh themselves after all the hardships they had endured. 
The uncle and niece met for the first time, and were so 
charmed with each other that Louis soon became jealous ; 
so one night he hurried his wife off without taking leave of 
his polite host. This made Eleanora so angry that when 
they arrived at Jerusalem she did nothing but grumble and 
complain. Most pilgrims had their piety aroused on this 
holy ground, but it was not so with Eleanora ; she wanted 
to get home, and quarrelled with her husband for keeping 
her there. In fact, she never forgave him for forcing her 
away from her uncle's agreeable company, and from that 
time all affection was at an end between this royal couple 
Eleanora was not willing to submit to restraint of any sort, 
and her husband's temper was so tried that he resolved to 
have a divorce. So, on his return to Paris, he consulted 

1I5I- Eleanora of Aquitaine. go 

his confidant, the Abbot Suger, about this matter. That 
worthy man advised him to wait ; because, he argued, that 
it would be troublesome for France to have to give up the 
money Eleanora's provinces in the south yielded ; besides 
Louis' daughter, the Princess Marie, would probably be 
deprived of her inheritance if her mother should take it 
into her head to marry again. 

Louis accepted this advice, but he had his wife closely 
watched, and would not allow her to go to Provence at 
all. She complained of the stupid life she led in Paris, 
and made great fun of her husband for wearing plain cloth- 
ing and keeping his head and beard closely cropped, which 
she declared made him look more like a priest than a king. 

Well, in time another princess was born, and named 
Alice. Soon after this event Henry Plantagenet visited 
Paris. He was a noble-looking young prince, full of 
energy and very intellectual. 

[A.D. 1 15 1.] Eleanora fell so desperately in love with 
him that without hesitation or advice she applied for a 
divorce from Louis, and got it. No doubt the king was 
glad to be rid of such an undutiful, unwomanly wife, 
though he did have to give up all control over his southern 
provinces, even Guienne. 

Eleanora went straight to her favorite home, where 
Henry Plantagenet followed her. He was probably not 
so very much in love with her, for she was twelve years his 
senior, but he needed her money and her ships to fight 
King Stephen, and lay claim to the throne of England, 
which he did during the first year of their marriage. 

He returned in triumph, and was besieging the castle of 
a rebel duke in Normandy when the news of Stephen's 
death reached him. For six weeks England was without 
a king, until Eleanora and Henry arrived with their young 
son. They were crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1154, 

lOO The Queens of England. 

and such a magnificent coronation had never been seen. 
The costumes of costly silk and brocade worn on that 
occasion had been brought by Eleanora from Constanti- 
nople. In one of her portraits she wears a close coif, or 
hood, over which is a band of precious stones ; a rich 
brocade gown is fastened with full gathers just below the 
throat, and confined there with a costly collar of exquisite 
gems. Over this is an outer robe, or pelisse, bordered with 
fur, the large sleeves of which fall open from the shoulder, 
displaying the tight ones of the gown beneath. In some 
portraits her hair is braided and wound closely around her 
head with jewelled bands, and over this is a piece of fine 
gauze, which could be so arranged as to serve the double 
purpose of veil or bonnet, just as the wearer chose. 

Before marriage, the girls of that time wore their hair in 
long ringlets, but the church required married ladies to 
conceal their locks. After Henry I. cut off his curls, and 
forbade his courtiers to wear their hair long, they adopted 
wigs, but Henry II. abolished them, and appeared at his 
coronation with short hair and shaven chin. His dalmatica, 
or long gown, was of the richest brocade with elaborate 
gold embroidery ; over this he wore the short cloak after- 
wards called the court-mantle. This coronation introduced 
into England the sumptuous robes of silk and velvet worn 
by the ecclesiastics there on that occasion. The queen's 
first residence in England was at a little village nearly 
opposite to London, and she must have been struck with 
the grandeur of that remarkable city, with its tower, its 
tall spires, and the river Thames running through it, so 
different from anything she had ever seen before. 

Now, although she did not please her new subjects, who 
were acquainted, of course, with her former behavior, they 
felt the advantage of being connected with her Aqui- 
tainian dominion, and in a few months large fortunes were 


Eleanora of Aqtdtaine. 


made by the London traders in the wines imported from 
the port of Bordeaux. 

One of the queen's country residences was at Woodstock, 
where rather a peculiar incident occurred. She was resting 
in the park, concealed by the shrubbery, one day when 
the king passed so close to her that she observed a 
thread of silk tightly twisted into his spur. She wondered 
where he could have been to have picked up such a thing, 
so, as he moved off, she cut it, and resolved to ferret out 
the mystery. Next day he left Woodstock for a long 
journey, and the queen immediately thought that now was 
her time to gratify her curiosity. So she sought the piece 
of silk, which proved to be the end of a ball, and followed 
its windings among the roads and thickets until she came 
to a door cunningly 
concealed by a luxu- 
riant vine. This she 
opened, and found 
it to be the entrance 
to a winding path 
under ground. A 
few minutes' walk 

brought her to a bower at the further end of the forest, in 
which sat an exceedingly pretty young girl embroidering. 
"Aha!" thought the lady, "now we know where Henry 
gets his spurs caught in balls of silk." 

This girl was Rosamond Clifford, who was said to have 
been a playmate of Henry's in his youth, and as she was 
kept a prisoner, it is probable that she did not know of his 
marriage until his wife informed her of it. At all events, 
nobody ever heard what took place at this interview, but it 
is certain that, in obedience to the queen's commands, 
Rosamond entered the convent of Godstowe, where she 
passed the remaining twenty years of her life. 



The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1 156.] Shortly after this adventure, the Princess 
Matilda was born, and a year later the celebrated Richard 
Coeur de Lion came into the world. In course of time, 
Queen Eleanora had several other children, among whom 
was John, surnamed Lackland, because once, when Henry 


II. fancied himself about to die, he left dominions to all 
his sons excepting this one. 

Little Matilda was three years old when she was married 
to Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, 

A revolt in the south of France caused Eleanora's return, 
because her subjects there insisted on having her to rule 
them. King Henry escorted her to Bordeaux, where she 
stayed with her son Richard. 


iiyi- Eleanora of Aquitaine. 


Great disputes had been going on in England for a long 
time between the church and state, headed by Thomas k 
Becket, the celebrated Archbishop of Canterbur)^ Prince 
Henry was so devoted to this priest," who had been his 
tutor, that the king became jealous of the influence exerted 
by Becket over the mind of his son. In order to change 
the current of the prince's thoughts, the father offered him 
a share in the government of his kingdom. This was 
gladly accepted, and young Henry was crowned. But he 
had a perverse little wife. Marguerite, daughter of Louis 
VH., who was fond of Becket, too, and she vowed that she 
would wear no crown that had not been placed on her 
head by that fascinating prelate ; so she remained with her 
mother-in-law at Aquitaine. 

King Henry met with so much opposition at the hands of 
Becket that he became enraged at the very sight of that 
priest. Once, when he was the subject of conversation 
among his knights, Henry asked, angrily, "whether no 
man loved him enough to revenge the affronts he perpetu- 
ally received from an insolent priest ? " 

[A.D. 1 17 1.] Four armed men instantly proceeded to 
the cathedral, and slaughtered the archbishop while he was 
kneeling before the altar in prayer. 

When this happened Eleanora was still in the south with 
her son Richard, who had been crowned Count of Poitou. 
Suddenly she chanced to hear that Henry was thinking 
about getting a divorce from her, so she resolved to seek 
the protection of her former husband, the King of France. 
Disguised in male attire, she stole out of the palace at 
night, and started on her journey. But Henry had his 
Norman agents on the spot, and they watched her so 
closely that her absence was discovered in time for them 
to overtake her. They captured her very roughly, and 
brought her back to Bordeaux, where she was kept in close 

io6 The Queens of England. 

imprisonment until her lord was summoned. He remained 
only a few days in the south, then went back to England 
with two royal captives, his wife and the young Princess 
Marguerite, whom he had not forgiven for scorning the 
crown he offered unless it could be consecrated by his 
enemy, Becket. Now, that he had her in his power, he 
resolved to punish her. But after a few months' confine- 
ment she was restored to her husband. 

^Eleanora was not so fortunate, for she was kept a prisoner 
at the royal palace of Winchester for nearly sixteen years. 
During that time there was no end of strife among her 
sons. The real mischief-makers were the troubadours, of 
whom we have spoken, for with their inspiring war songs 
they were constantly urging the princes to battle for one 
trivial reason or another, even when they would gladly 
have been at peace. 

It must not be supposed that the queen was unkindly 
treated at Winchester, for, on the contrary, she received the 
attention and respect due to her station. While she was 
there Louis VII., her divorced husband, died ; and shortly 
after, the death of her eldest son, Henry Plantagenet, 
followed. This was a great sorrow to the royal couple, 
and Henry mourned with the deep grief of David over Ab- 
salom. Still later, their son Geoffrey was killed in a grand 
tournament in Paris. 

In one of her letters to the pope, the queen thus writes 
about these bereavements : *' The younger king and 
Geoffrey, Count of Bretagne, both sleep in the dust, while 
their most wretched mother is compelled to live on, though 
tortured by recollections of the dead." 

In 1 189, Henry II. died, and was succeeded by his son 
Richard I., Coeur de Lion. About the first act of the new 
king was to order his mother's release, and from a captive 
Queen Eleanora at once became a sovereign, for the reins 


1204- Eleanora of Aquitaine, 109 

of government were placed in her hands as regent. Her long 
confinement must have had a good effect on her, for she 
went about, from city to city, releasing all the poor people 
that her husband had cruelly locked up for violating the 
Norman game laws, and spent her whole time in acts of 
mercy and charity. Richard was crowned in 1189, but, as 
his mother's mourning prevented her being present on that 
occasion, no women were admitted at all. 

The king then settled a most liberal revenue on his 
mother, and she went to Aquitaine, the government of 
which was also restored to her. But she did not stay 
there ; her old age was passed in England, where she 
assisted her son in governing, and made him, as well as 
herself, exceedingly popular. 

Eleanora of Aquitaine is among the very few women 
who, after an ill-spent youth, have become wise and benev- 
olent in old age. But she had a great deal more trouble 
to bear before her death. Her life exhibits many traces 
of a great ruler. If she had only been blessed in her early 
days with a good, moral education, she would have been 
one of the greatest women of her time. Slowly and surely 
she learned the stern lesson of life, which teaches that 
without virtue, power, beauty and royalty are of slight 

[A.D. 1204.] She was a very old woman when she retired 
to a convent, where she spent many months previous to 
her death, which occurred in 1204. She was buried by the 
side of Henry II., and on her tomb is a reclining statue 
said to be a good portrait of herself. The features are 
noble and intellectual. On the head is a hood, above 
which is a regal diadem ; and a blue mantle, figured with 
silver crescents, is folded gracefully about her form. 


A.D. 1 165 — 1230. 

Richard Cceur de Lion first met the beautiful, accom- 
plished Berengaria at a tournament, and fell desperately 
in love with her ; but, unfortunately, he was at that time 
engaged to Alice of France, so could not offer his hand to 
the Provencal princess. 

Both Sancho the Wise, King of Navarre, Berengaria's 
father, and Sancho the Strong, her brother, were poets of 
considerable merit, and early came under the notice of 
Richard, who was not only a troubadour poet, but as 
sovereign of Aquitaine^ he was, besides, the prince and 
judge of all the troubadours. Between him and Beren- 
garia's brother a warm friendship was formed in early youth, 
strengthened by their similarity of tastes. 

It was not until after his father's death that Richard 
was at liberty to marry the Princess Berengaria, to whom 
he had been secretly engaged for several years. So she 
was about twenty-six years old when Richard ascended the 
throne of England. He at once sent his mother. Queen 
Eleanora, to the court of Sancho the Wise to demand the 
princess in marriage. 

The royal father was much pleased, and placed his 
daughter in charge of the queen without hesitation. The 
two ladies set out together and travelled as far as Naples, 
where ships awaited them in the bay. But the princess 


1 19- • Berengaria of Navarre. 1 1 3 

would not joift her lover until he had broken off his 
engagement with Alice; so she spent the spring of 1191 
at Brindisi with his mother. At last a message .came from 
Richard announcing that he was free to marry, then his 
lady-love returned to France with his sister, Queen Joanna, 
in whose charge she had been placed by the queen mother. 

While Richard was Awaiting the arrival of Berengaria, 
he instituted the order of Knights of the Blue Thong, to 
scale the walls of Acre. They were twenty-four in num- 
ber, and were distinguished by a band of blue leather 
which each wore on his left leg. 

[A.D. 1192.]- It was Lent when Berengaria met her 
royal lover, therefore their marriage had to be postponed ; 
but so anxious was Richard to begin his crusade, that he 
set*out at once with his knights in his favorite ship, which 
he had named '■'■Trenc-the-mere" meaning cut the sea. His 
fleet consisted of one hundred and fifty ships and fifty 
galleys. Among the latter was one in which Berengaria 
and Queen Joanna, guarded by a brave knight; accompa- 
nied the crusaders. 

A dreadful storm drove the galley which contained the 
queen and princess into the harbor of Limoussa, the capital 
of Cyprus, but when Isaac Comnenus, the lord of the isle, 
found out who they were, he brutally refused them shelter, 
and they were obliged to row out of the harbor. As soon 
as the gale abated, Richard Coeur de Lion, who had found 
shelter in a harbor of Crete, started in search of his bride. 
When he beheld her ship pitching and tossing in the Bay 
of Famaguta, he suspected that something had prevented 
the knight in charge from seeking the protection so near 
at hand. Armed, as he was, he jumped into the first boat 
that could be got ready, and when, on reaching the queen's 
galley, he heard how the Lord of Cyprus had behaved, his 
fury knew no bounds. 

114 The Queens of England. 

Determined to punish the offender at once, Richard led 
his crusaders straight to Limoussa, and made such a sudden 
and desperate attack that in a few hours he had captured 
the town, and all the inhabitants had scampered to the 
neighboring mountains for shelter. 

Then, in response to King Richard's signals, the queen's 
vessel entered the harbor and landed at Limoussa, where 
grand preparations were soon under way for the marriage 
and coronation of the royal pair. 

The wedding ceremony was performed in the month of 
May, 1 191, and King Richard gave a grand feast, to which 
he invited the people of Cyprus. 

On that occasion Berengaria wore a richly-embroidered 
robe of velvet and satin. Her dark hair fell in curls, over 
which hung a full long lace veil, fastened to a crown 
studded with rich iewels. 

King Richard wore a short rose-colored satin skirt, with 
a brocaded mantle embroidered in silver. A richly jewelled 
Damascus sword hung at his side, and on his head he wore 
a scarlet hood, brocaded in gold with figures of animals. 
He had a bright complexion, and curly, yellow hair, and" 
his figure was a perfect model of manly grace and strength. 

The people of Cyprus had been so tyrannized over by 
Isaac Comnenus that they gladly consented to receive 
Richard for their king ; therefore, by the advice of all the 
crusaders who had witnessed his marriage, he was crowned 
King of Cyprus, and his bride Queen of England and 

Then the daughter of the despot, Isaac, threw herself at 
King Richard's feet and asked for mercy. He kindly 
raised her from the ground and sent her to his wife and 
sister, with whom she remained until the end of the crusade. 
Her father was bound in silver chains and presented to 
Queen Berengaria as her captive. 


1 192. Berengaria of Navarre. wj 

Once more the fleet set sail for Palestine, and when 
Richard appeared before Acre, the whole army of Chris- 
tians, already assembled there, marched to the beach to 
welcome him. 

The town was soon taken, and before proceeding further, 
Richard established his wife and sister in safe quarters 
there, under the protection of a couple of brave knights, to 
await his return. 

King Richard distinguished himself by many brave deeds 
during his Syrian campaign, and captured several im- 
portant towns, but Jerusalem did not fall into his hands. 
Once he was in sight of that coveted city, when the Duke 
of Burgundy, who commanded the French forces, suddenly 
drew back with his whole division when victory seemed 
certain, because he would not have it said that the King 
of England had taken Jerusalem. This act, which was 
prompted by envy, was a serious blow to Richard, who, 
throwing down his weapon, said, with tears in his eyes and 
his hands raised to heaven : — 

" Ah ! Lord God, I pray thee that I may never see thy 
holy city, Jerusalem, since I have failed to deliver it from 
the hands of thine enemies." 

He returned to Acre in 1192, and, after spending a few 
days with his wife and sister, saw them embark for home 
on the very day he himself set out in the disguise of a 
Templar to return across Europe by a different route. 

His vessel was wrecked off the coast of Istria, and his 
ignorance of geography led him to the neighborhood of 
Vienna, the capital of his enemy, Leopold of Austria. 

One day, after several narrow escapes, he sent a page to 
make some purchases at a village near Vienna. The boy 
was recognized by an officer who had been in the late 
crusade with Leopold's troops. He was seized, and after 
suffering much cruelty, confessed where he had left his 

fl8 The Queens of England. 

master. A part}' of soldiers set out for the inn designated, 
but could not find King Richard. The landlord said, on 
being questioned : " No, there is no stranger here, unless 
it be the Templar in the kitchen, who is turning the fowls 
which are roasting for dinner." 

The Austrian officer, accompanied by his soldiers, pro- 
ceeded at once to the kitchen, recognized the king, who 
sure enough was busily turning the spit, and cried : " There 
he is. Seize him ! " 

Coeur de Lion started up and fought desperately for 
liberty, but he was only one man against a dozen, who 
captured him and carried him in chains before Leopold. 

He was forthwith locked up in a gloomy prison, where 
he remained for many months, no one knowing whether he 
was alive or dead. 

Meanwhile Berengaria and Joanna had landed at Naples 
and proceeded to Rome, where they remained six months. 
While there, Berengaria saw a belt of jewels offered for 
sale that she knew Richard had worn when he parted from 
her. This convinced her that something dreadful had 
happened to him, but she had no means of finding out the 
truth, and as soon as she could get a safe escort she jour- 
neyed on until she arrived at Poitou. 

As time went on, poor Richard fancied himself forgotten, 
and bitterly lamented because he had no friend nor relation 
who loved him enough to rescue him. But he was wrong, 
for as soon as his mother heard of his captivity she spared 
no pains nor money to obtain his release. It was a long 
time, though, before the exact spot of his imprisonment 
could be ascertained, and this is how it happened, after 
many months : A certain troubadour knight who had been 
with Richard when he was shipwrecked at Istria, having 
heard of his captivity, wandered around through the 
southern cities of Germany in search of him. One day he 


"95' Berengaria of Navarre. 121 

stood beneath the tower that formed Richard's prison, and 
sang a song that he and the king had composed together. 
When he finished the first stanza, the prisoner replied with 
the second ; then the troubadour hastened with all speed 
to Queen Eleanora with the discovery he had made. 

She took immediate measures for her son's release, and 
with the assistance of the pope, to whom she made a most 
pathetic appeal, a large ransom was collected, with which 
the devoted mother set out for Germany. 

[A.D. 1 195.] After an absence of more than four years, 
Richard arrived in England in company with Queen 

During his imprisonment, John, his younger brother, 
had tried to possess himself of the crown of England. It 
was the mother who prevented anything so^ disgraceful, 
and who kept all Richard's dominions intact, and it was 
she who proudly sat beside her brave son at his second 
coronation, which took place in his own country. 

Berengaria remained in France, and Richard was not at 
all anxious to join her there, or to have her with him. The 
reason for this remarkable conduct on the part of a hus- 
band is that on his return to England Richard had been met 
by his former bachelor friends, into whose way of living he 
fell, much to the disgust of the more sober of his subjects. 
He drank with them to excess, and led such a gay, bad 
life, that Berengaria could not join him. 

At last he became alarmingly ill, and began to repent 
of his neglect of his wife ; but he knew that she was justly 
displeased with him, and did not dare to approach her. So 
he assembled at his bedside all the monks within ten miles 
and publicly confessed his sins, vowing that if Queen 
Berengaria would forgive him he would never forsake her 

A few months later he went to France and became 

122 TJic QuccJis of England. 

reconciled to his wife. It was a year of famine and of 
suffering among the poor, and the queen used her newly- 
restored influence over the heart of Richard to persuade 
him to many acts of charity that preserved the lives of a 
number of families. The Christmas of the year 1196, 
which occurred shortly after the king's arrival in France, 
was celebrated in grand style. 

Berengaria accompanied her husband in all his cam- 
paigns after that, and never left him during the remaining 
three years of his life. 

It was when Richard was storming the Castle of Chaluz, 
in April, 1199, that an arrow pierced liis breast and caused 
his death. He was buried at the Abbey of Fontevraud. 

Queen Berengaria went to live at Mans, where she 
founded the Abbey of L'Espan, and devoted her life to 
deeds of charity. 

She lived to an advanced age, and was buried at the 
abbey she had founded. 

She deserves to be remembered as a Queen of England 
who was never in that country, and as a woman possessed 
of many noble virtues. 



(A.D. 1 185-1246.) 

John ascended the throne of England on the death of 
his brother, Richard Coeur de Lion, and it was at a festival 
given to him at Angouleme that he first made the ac- 
quaintance of Isabella, who afterwards became queen. 

[A.D. 1200.] She was just fifteen years old and so beau- 
tiful that King John fell madly in love with her. She 
was engaged to Hugh de Lusignan at the time, but" her 
parents were so ambitious for her to be raised to the lofty 
position of Queen of England, that they kept her with 
them after the festival instead of allowing her to return to 
the Castle of Valence, the possession of her betrothed, 
where she had been living under the protection of the 
Count of Eu, his brother. 

Isabella really loved Hugh de Lusignan, but she was 
dazzled by the splendor of the triple crown of England, 
Normandy and Aquitaine, and, as her lover was absent, she 
denied that she had ever consented to marry him. 

According to the feudal laws of the thirteenth century. 
King John, as ruler of Aquitaine, had the power to prevent 
any marriage that the Provengale princess might contract, if 
he chose, and to deprive her of her inheritance besides. 

So, when King John and Isabella were married, in the 
month of August, 1200, Count Hugh dared not interfere to 
prevent it. But he challenged the king to mortal combat. 


1 24 The Queens of England. 

The reply he got was that if he wished to fight a champion 
should be appointed for that purpose, but he was indignant 
at such a proposition and determined to await an opportu- 
nity for revenge. 

Isabella sailed with her husband for England, where she 
was duly crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Six 
months of feasting and enjoyment succeeded, which were 
only terminated at last by rumors of war. 

Thereupon, King John retired with his wife to Rouen, 
where he led such a life of indolent ease as to excite the 
displeasure of all who surrounded him. 

His mother, the aged Eleanora, was then residing at the 
Castle of Mirabel in Poitou, and was the ruler of Aqui- 
taine. Quite suddenly and unexpectedly her residence was 
besieged by Hugh de Lusignan, whose plan was to capture 
the old lady and exchange her only for his lost love. 

But Eleanora held out heroically until the arrival of her 
son John, whom she had summoned at the first signal of 

King John's enemies had reckoned on his character a? 
a sluggard, but they found their mistake, for when he 
heard of the attack on his mother he hastened to Mirabel 
with lightning speed, hemmed in Count Hugh and Duke 
Arthur of Bretagne, who had joined him, and took both 
prisoners. The one was his rival in love, the other in em- 

Count Hugh was subjected to the most insulting treat- 
ment at the hands of the king, who had him and the other 
insurgent barons of Poitou chained hand and foot to carts 
drawn by oxen. In this manner they were forced to 
follow him wherever he went, until he made them embark 
with him for England. 

King John was not so cruel to his nephew, Arthur, 
whom he merely had locked up in the citadel of Falaise, 


I2II. Isabella of Angoulime. 127 

leaving himself the sole representative of the house of 

[A.D. 1204.] In 1204 Queen Eleanora died, and from 
that moment her son John seemed lost to all sense of de- 
cency or fear, and became more corrupt and wicked than 
the most brutal of his subjects. Queen Isabella's influ- 
ence was no check on his notorious conduct. 

In 1206 he entered into a treaty with his prisoner, 
Hugh de Lusignan, with whose aid he conquered the 
southern part of France. 

On his return to England he made some most unrea- 
sonable demands of his barons, one of them being the 
surrender of their children as hostages. Those young no- 
bles who fell into his hands were required to attend the 
queen, ser\'e her at meals and follow her at cavalcades and 
processions. The Lord of Bramber resisted the King's 
demand, whereupon he, with his wife and five children, 
were all shut up in a room at the old Castle of Windsor 
and deliberately starved to death. 

[A.D. 12 1 1.] Queen Isabella had given birth to several 
children, but that did not prevent her brutal husband from 
treating her with extreme harshness. Once, when he fan- 
cied that she had a fancy for a certain knight, he had the 
man assassinated, and his dead body suspended over her 
bed. Then he shut her up in Gloucester Abbey, where she 
remained until 12 13, when it suited his majesty to take her 
with him to Angouleme. 

King John found himself again in need of Hugh de 
Lusignan's ^sistance when Philip Augustus of France 
seized the northern provinces. But that brave count 
refused his aid unless the king would ^ve him his 
eldest daughter, Joanna, for a wife. This was a singular 
request, considering that he had once been engaged to the 
mother, but he was gratified, and the infant princess was 


The Queens of England. 

forthwith handed over to him to be brought up in one of 
his castles as her mother had been before her. Count 
Hugh soon cleared the northern provinces of France of the 
invaders, and then John returned to England to perpetrate 
new acts of tyranny. 

[A.D. 1 2 15.] After the signing of the Magna Charta, 
which granted certain privileges to all his subjects, King 


John behaved like a madman, giving way to outbursts of 
fury, cursing the hour of his birth, and biting and gnawing 
sticks and clubs until he reduced them to small bits. The 
result of several sleepless nights at the fortress of Windsor, 
the scene of many secret murders, was an ex|5Rlition to the 
Isle of Wight, where, after idly sauntering on the beach for 
days at a time and conversing with the fishermen, he 
joined a band of pirates with whom he made attacks on 
his own subjects. He was gone so long that everybody 


I2I5. Isabella of Angoulhne. 131 

hoped he would, never return, but, like a bad penny, 
he turned up at the end of a few weeks, when he was 
joined by troops from Brabant and Guienne, whom he had 
summoned to aid him in revenging himself on the rebel- 
lious barons. This he did by travelling around among 
them, obliging them to entertain him, and- then turning 
upon them and doing some damage to their lives or prop- 
erty. It was not uncommon for him to set fire to a house 
in which he had been sheltered over night. 

In the midst of this diabolical career, Queen Isabella met 
her husband at Marlborough, and after spending a few 
weeks with him, retired to Gloucester with her children. 

While she was there, Prince Louis of France made an 
invasion into England, prompted to the act by the barons, 
who were so incensed against their sovereign that they 
offered him the crown if he would come to their aid. 

Then the tormentor tried to escape towards the north, 
but when he thought to cross the Wash to Lincolnshire, 
part of his army, his baggage, and his splendid regalia were 
lost, and he barely escaped with his life. He arrived at 
Swinshead Abbey ill and in a horrible temper. 

With his usual brutality, he gave vent to his spleen by 
saying, while eating in the abbot's refectory, " that he hoped 
to make the half-penny loaf cost a shilling before the year 
was over." 

This malicious speech was heard by several monks, who, 
thinking that John's outrages had extended far enough, 
treated him to a dose of poison served in a dish of stewed 
pears. Ill as he was from the effect of the poison, the 
king insisted on proceeding on his journey, and was there- 
fore carried on a litter to Newark, where he summoned 
several monks for the purpose of confession. It was no 
trifling matter for this sinful man to recount all the wrongs 
of which he had been guilty, but having accomplished it, 


The Queens of England. 

he forgave his enemies and made all the officers about him 
swear fealty to his eldest son, Henry. Then he expired, 
having left directions for his burial. As soon as the news 


of the king's death reached her, Isabella caused Prince 
Henry to be proclaimed in the streets of Gloucester, and 
nine days later she assisted at his coronation in the cathe- 
dral of that place. 


I2I7- Isabella of Atigoulime. I35 

[A.D. 1 2 17.] Although the young king was only nine 
years old, his mother was so unpopular that she was not 
asked to act as regent, and before the year of her widow- 
hood had expired, she retired to her native city of An- 

The Princess Joanna, then just seven years of age, was 
still at Count Lusignan's castle at Valence, but the count 
himself was absent on a crusade. 

In the year 1220 he returned, and frequently met the 
mother of his little promised bride. The consequence was, 
that his early love was renewed, and as Isabella was still a 
very handsome woman, only a few years younger than him- 
self, she was a much more appropriate mate for him than 
Joanna could have been. 

So they were married without asking the advice or con- 
sent of any one in England ; consequently Isabella's dower 
was withheld from her, much to the indignation of her 

Now, it so happened that Henry III. was at war with 
the King of Scotland, whom his council were anxious to 
conciliate. They therefore resolved to offer the king the 
hand of the little Princess Joanna in marriage, so when 
Henry wrote his mother a congratulatory letter on her 
nuptials, he demanded, at the same time, the restoration of 
his sister. Isabella refused to give up the princess, because 
she was highly displeased at being deprived of her jointure. 

Thereupon the young king applied to the pope, who took 
great pains to inquire into the merits of the case. A vo- 
luminous correspondence was carried on between the con- 
tending parties. The King of Scots insisted upon his 
marriage with Joanna before he would come to terms ; the 
result was the payment of all the money due to Queen 
Isabella in exchange for her daughter. 

The King of France was the liege-lord of the Count de 

1 36 The Queens of England. 

Lusignan, and it was so hurtful to the pride of Isabella tc 
see her husband kneel at the feet of any man, that she 
gave him no rest until he joined her son, Henry III., whom 
she had instigated to undertake the conquest of Poitou. 

Several years of warfare ensued, and at last the King of 
England fled to Bordeaux. De Lusignan's possessions 
were overrun by the enemy, and Queen Isabella was 
forced, after much suffering, to throw herself on the mercy 
of the King of France, Louis IX. 

She went to his camp with her husband and children, 
and, falling at his feet, begged for mercy. He received 
them kindly, and granted forgiveness on easy conditions. 

Nevertheless, so ungrateful did Isabella show herself, 
that when an attempt was made on the life of good King 
Louis, in 1244, it was proved that she had bribed people to 
poison him. She flew to the Abbey of Fontevraud for 
protection, and there hid herself from the French, who held 
ner responsible for so much sorrow and bloodshed that 
they gave her the name of Jezebel. 

She died in 1246, and was buried in the common ceme- 
tery of Fontevraud. Some years later her son, Henry III., 
raised a stately monument over her grave. 

De Lusignan joined a crusade after the death of his 
wife, and was killed at one of the battles in 1249. ^is 
eldest son was known as Hugh XI., Count de la Marche 
and Angouleme. His other children were liberally pro- 
vided for by Henry III., much to the indignation of his 
English subjects. 


(A.D. 1222-1291.) 

Eleanor of Provence was married when she was only 
fourteen years old, and became the most unpopular queen 
that ever reigned over the English court. She was so 
beautiful as to be called La Belle, but her judgment was 
too immature tor her to stand all the adulation she 
received without being spoiled by it. 

Before she entered her teens, Eleanor had written a 
poem in the Provengal dialect, which is remembered in her 
native country .to this day. Born in that land of poetry 
and song, of parents who were both popular poets among 
the troubadors, young Eleanor's talent was fostered and 
encouraged by the very air she breathed. 

It was this talent that was the means of placing her on 
the throne, for she wrote a romance in verse, selecting 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who was then preparing a 
crusade, for her hero. Romeo, her tutor, and one of the 
greatest Italian poets of his day, was so proud of his 
pupil, that he carried the composition to Richard, who was 
immensely flattered by it. But he could not, in return for 
the compliment, offer his hand and heart to La Belle 
Eleanor because he was already provided with one wife ; 
therefore he did the next best thing — recommended her 
to his brother, Henry III. 

So delighted was this king with the accounts he received 
of the beauty and genius of the maid of Provence, that 

138 The Queens of England. 

he put a stop to the treaty under way for the hand of 
Joanna, daughter of the Earl of Pembroke, and forthwith 
despatched ambassadors to the court of Count Berenger 
to demand his daughter Eleanor in marriage. With the 
covetousness for which he was noted, he added a dower 
of twenty thousand marks to his demand. 

The court objected to so large a sum. Henry lowered 
it, but even then the father would not agree, and so much 
bargaining was the result that the high-spirited court was 
on the point of putting an end to the affair altogether, 
when a peremptory order came from the king to conclude 
the marriage at once, with or without money. Then the 
contract was signed and the maiden was delivered with 
due solemnity to the ambassadors. 

When she commenced her journey to England, the royal 
bride was attended by a train of knights, ladies and 
minstrels who accompanied her to the French frontier. 
There she was met by her eldest sister, the wife of King 
Louis, and after receiving the congratulations of her rela- 
tives, she embarked for Dover and landed there January 
4, 1236. 

[A.D. 1236.] She was married at Canterbury, where 
King Henry had received her with a splendid train of 
followers, and after the ceremony the royal couple pro- 
ceeded to London, where preparations on a very grand 
scale had been made for the reception and coronation of 
the new queen. 

Her apartments at Westminster Palace had been newly 
decorated and furnished by order of the king, and all the 
streets of London had been thoroughly cleansed. 

The 20th of January was appointed for the coronation, 
and on the previous Saturday, Henry laid the first stone 
of the Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey. 

The streets through which the procession passed were 


1236. Eleanor of Provence. 14I 

hung with flags, banners and garlands of flowers, and the 
houses were gaily decorated. Three hundred and sixty 
equestrians, preceded by the king's trumpeters, who 
sounded as they moved along, accompanied the royal pair 
from the tower. These were loyal citizens, who, mounted 
on richly caparisoned horses and clad in bright, embroid- 
ered satin and velvet garments, each carried in his hand 
a gold or silver cup to be used at the banquet. They 
were called cellarers, and it was their duty to hand wine to 
the royal butler, who passed it to the sovereigns. After 
the banquet, the butler always claimed the cup out of 
which the king had drank, the curtain that hung behind 
the royal table became the property of the doorkeepers, 
other perquisites being divided among the cooks and 
scullions. King Henry was very charitable and did not 
forget the poor, among whom a liberal supply of money 
was distributed by his orders. 

At this coronation were worn the most splendid gar- 
ments ever seen in England. They were made of the 
costliest satin and velvet, richly embroidered in gold and 
silver, and the ladies wor€ head-dresses composed of rare 
and precious gems. The queen's crown was worth ;{J^i5oo, 
and her girdle was studded with jewels of great value. 

The king, who had a taste for finery not often seen in 
men, wore a garment of gold tissue that glittered with 
every motion. 

The expenses of Eleanor's coronation were so enormous 
that the king had to petition the Lords for money. They 
refused, saying, " that they had amply supplied funds both 
for his marriage and that of his sister Isabella, who had 
just been united to the Emperor of Germany ; and as he 
had wasted the money he might defray the expenses of his 
wedding as best he could." 

Great dissatisfaction was felt in England oii account of 

142 The Queens of England. 

the number of foreigners who had accompanied Queen 
Eleanor. Among these was her uncle, Peter of Savoy, 
who by the end of a year had gained such complete con- 
trol over Henry that all the affairs of the kingdom were 
submitted to him. 

Throughout his reign, Henry HI. too frequently made 
demands on the purses of his subjects, to supply his un- 
bounded extravagance, and Queen Eleanor was no check 
to him in this respect. Their tastes were similar, and 
Henry had in his wife a congenial companion, interested, as 
he was, in literature and art. Her influence over him was 
unbounded, and he was never known to refuse any de- 
mand she made, no matter how unreasonable it was. 

Their first child was born at Westminster in 1239, and 
received the name of Edward, in honor of Edward the 

An attempt was made on the king's life one night by a 
crazy man named Ribald, who concealed himself in the 
palace during the day and stole into the king's bed-cham- 
ber at midnight. Fortunately Henry spent the night in 
another apartment, otherwise the score of stabs that the 
madman inflicted on the bolster would certainly have put 
an end to his majesty. The shrieks of one of the queen's 
maids of honor, who heard the would-be murderer shouting 
horrible threats with each thrust of his dagger, aroused the 
household, and the wretch was taken into custody. 

[A.D. 1241.] In 1241, a year after the birth of her 
daughter Margaret, Queen Eleanor accompanied her hus- 
band to France, on an expedition against their brother- 
in-law. King Louis. After a series of defeats, they took 
refuge in Bordeaux, where many of Henry's knights and 
nobles forsook him and returned to England. He revenged 
himself by imposing upon them heavy fines, — his favorite 
mode of punishment. 


1243- Eleanor of Provence. 145 

Henry and Eleanor spent a merry winter at Bordeaux, 
amusing themselves with feasts and pageants that they 
could ill afford, and on their return to England, in 1243, 
Henry issued an order compelling the principal inhabitants 
of every town on the route to appear on horseback to give 
them welcome. 

[A.D. 1243.] The marriage of the queen's youngest 
sister, to the king's brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, 
who had become a widower, was solemnized in England 
the following autumn. On that occasion Henry called 
upon his Jewish subjects. to furnish funds for the sumptu- 
ous festivities that he saw fit to give, and he spared no 
expense, for the wedding-dinner alone consisted of thirty 
thousand dishes. 

But he remembered the poor as usual, and ordered all 
the children from the streets and highways of Windsor and 
its neighborhood to be collected together and feasted in 
the great hall of the palace, after which the royal children 
— of whom there were then three — were weighed, and 
silver coin placed in the balance was distributed among 
the destitute individuals present. 

The following year the threatened war between England 
and Scotland was averted by a contract of marriage 
between the infant Princess Margaret of England and the 
heir of Scotland. 

England was in such a dreadful state of misrule at this 
time that no traveller was safe from plunder ; and in some 
counties no jury dared to punish the plunderer. Henry 
himself sat on the bench of justice and tried many cases. 
Once he summoned Lord Clifford for some offence, but 
the gentleman not only refused to answer, but forced the 
king's officers to eat the royal warrant, seal and all. He 
was severely punished. 

One great cause of Eleanor's unpopularity was the means 

146 The Queens of England. 

she employed for extorting money from her subjects. She 
compelled vessels carrying valuable cargoes to unload 
at her quay, no matter how inconvenient it might be, in 
order that she might receive the toll. When the royal 
funds were almost exhausted, the king and queen, with 
their son, Prince Edward, daily invited themselves to dine 
with the different rich men of London in turn, to save the 
expense of keeping up a table of their own. They added 
to this economical mode of living by insisting on costly 
presents from their entertainers as a proof of loyalty. 

[A.D. 125 1.] The year 125 1 closed with the marriage of 
the Princess Margaret and Alexander III. of Scotland, 
whose engagement had been signed seven years before. 
As the bride was just ten years of age, and the groom 
twelve, they probably had not much choice in this 

On the morning preceding the ceremony, the youthful 
groom was knighted at York Cathedral. The wedding 
feast was served by the archbishop at a cost of four thous- 
and marlcs ; and he supplied six hundred oxen, that were 
all consumed at one meal. The costumes worn by the 
nobility were, as when Eleanor, her mother, was married, 
of the most extravagant material, scolloped, embroidered 
and ornamented with costly jewels. The queen and her 
ladies wore robes that trailed on the ground, but, as they 
were the same length all around, they had to be held up 
to enable the wearers to walk. The height at which they 
were raised depended upon the beauty or ugliness of the 
feet and ankles, no doubt. During this reign the hair was 
. gathered under a network of gold, over which was usually 
thrown a gauze veil. Unmarried ladies wore ringlets, or 
long braids hanging down the back and fastened with 
ribbons. A head-dress made in the shape of a knight's 
helmet, with an aperture for the face to peep through, was 


1 25 1. Eleanor of Provence, 1 49 

worn by ladies, old and young, in the street, and must have 
been very becoming. 

After Margaret's marriage, the king became even more 
extortionate in his demands for money than ever, and thus 
made a host of enemies. He applied for funds for a 
crusade, but was refused, and shortly after he was called 
upon to quell an insurrection at Guienne. This was the 
result of the recall of the Earl of Leicester, who had been 
governor there. 

The earl had been replaced by Prince Edward, who was 
only fourteen, and therefore incapable of managing public 
affairs. Before his departure. King Henry appointed 
Eleanor regent of England, but requested her to advise 
with his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, on matters of 

He sailed from Portsmouth August 6, and arrived at 
Bordeaux on the 15 th of the same month. 

Queen Eleanor's first act, on finding herself in power, 
was to tax the London citizens more heavily than her hus- 
band had ever done, and those who refused her unjust 
claims were sent to the Marshalsea Prison. This conduct 
aroused universal indignation, and the following year, when 
parliament was summoned for the purpose of demanding 
aid to carry on the war in Gascony, they peremptorily 
declined to give it. 

Every other means having failed, Henry instructed his 
brother to extort money from the Jews, and no sooner did 
he get it than he sent for Eleanor to help him to squander 
it on the nuptials of Princess Eleanor of Castile with their 
eldest son, Prince Edward. Queen Eleanor willingly re- 
signed the cares of government to the Earl of Cornwall, 
and with his wife. Prince Edmund, her second son, and a 
retinue of knights and ladies, sailed for Bordeaux, where 
she was warmly welcomed by her husband. 

1 50 The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1255.] After Prince Edward's marriage, his 
parents went to pass a fortnight at the court of King 
Louis. The day after their arrival, King Henr}' distributed 
so much money among the poor of Paris and gave such a 
grand entertainment to the crowned heads assembled to 
meet him, that it was called the Feast of Kings. 

On their return home, which occurred January 27, 
1255, the king and queen made a public entry into the city 
of London, and received a present of a hundred pounds 
and a valuable piece of plate from the citizens. 

Shortly after, the royal couple were made extremely 
anxious by a report that the young king and queen of 
Scots were deprived of their rights and kept in close con- 
finement by the regents. Sir John Baliol and Comyns. 
The queen's physician was immediately despatched to Scot- 
land to ascertain the facts. He managed to obtain a secret 
interview with Margaret, who gave a lamentable account of 
her treatment. She said, " that she had been rudely torn from 
her husband and shut up in a dismal place, the dampness of 
which had seriously injured her health, and, so far from 
having any share in the government, she and he were 
treated with disrespect and were in danger of their lives." 

Queen Eleanor was so distressed at the condition of her 
child, that she accompanied the king on a northern cam- 
paign, constantly urging him to do something to aid her. 
The Earl of Gloucester was sent to Scotland for that pur- 
pose, and with John Mansel gained admittance to Edin- 
burgh castle, by disguising themselves in the dress of 
Baliol's tenants. Then, secretly admitting their followers, 
they surprised the garrison, restored the young king and 
queen to each other's society and carried their cruel 
jailers, Baliol and Ross, before King Henry at Alnwick. 
Throwing themselves at the feet of the sovereign, the trai- 
tors implored for mercy and were forgiven, but as Baliol 


Eleanor of Provence. 


was Henry's own subject he had to pay a heavy fine, which 
his majesty pocketed for his own private wants. 

Queen Eleanor was lying ill at Wark Castle, and re- 
quested her daughter Margaret, with the young king of 
Scotland, to join her without delay. They obeyed, and as 
soon as the royal mother was convalescent, accompanied 


her to Woodstock, where King Henry joined them. The 
court was kept with extraordinary splendor at that beauti- 
ful palace, which contained three kings and three queens, 
with their retinues, during the winter of 1255, for besides 
the English and the Scottish royal couples, there was 
Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who had been elected King of 
the Romans, and his second wife, Queen Eleanor's sister. 

They all made a public entry into London in February, 
wearing their crowns and royal robes, and the entire popu- 

154 '^^^'^ Queens of England. 

lace assembled to witness the splendid procession. After 
the departure of the royal visitors, there was a season of 
misery and gloom caused by a dreadful famine, and by the 
drain that had been made on the public treasury by the 
King and Queen of the Romans, who, on departing for Aix- 
la-Chapelle, where they were to be crowned, carried with 
them seven hundred thousand pounds sterling. Added to 
this were the battles of the barons, to whom both Henry 
and Eleanor had made themselves obnoxious by frequent 
acts of selfishness and injustice, and finally the shameful 
attack upon the Jews, whose wealth had excited the envy of 
the nation. 

The mob was led on by the Marshal of London and 
John Fitz-John, a powerful baron, killing and plundering 
without mercy, men, women and children of that noble 
race, and driving hundreds from their beds into the street 
half clad as they were. The next morning they began 
again with such demoniacal yells that the queen, who was 
at the Tower, was so terrified that she got into her barge 
with several of her ladies, intending to escape to Windsor 
Castle. But as soon as the populace observed the royal 
barge, they made a rush for the bridge, crying : *' Drown 
the witch ! — drown the witch ! " at the same pelting the 
queen with mud and trying to sink the vessel by hurling 
down huge blocks of wood and stone that they tore 
from the unfinished bridge. There was nothing for 
Eleanor to do but to hasten back to the Tower, where she 
remained until nightfall, then sought shelter in the Bishop 
of London's palace at St. Paul's, whence she was privately 
removed to Windsor Castle, where Prince Edward was 
garrisoned with his troops. 

[A.D. 1264.] While the civil war continued King Henry 
took the queen and her children to France, where she re- 
mained under the care of King Louis and her sister Mar- 


1 264. Eleanor of Provence. 157 

At the battle of Lewes, the king and Prince Edward 
were captured and locked up in the Castle of Wallingford. 
As soon as Eleanor heard their sad fate she sent word to 
Sir Warren de Basingbourne, her son's favorite knight, that 
Wallingford was feebly guarded and could not resist an 
attack. Sir Warren lost no time in crossing the country 
with three hundred horsemen, and laid siege to the castle, 
which, contrary to his expectation, was warmly defended. 
At last the besiegers called out to Sir Warren that "if 
they wanted Prince Edward, they should have him bound 
hand and foot, and shot from the mangonel " — a war 
engine used for throwing stones. On hearing this, the 
prince begged leave to speak with his friends, and appear- 
ing on the wall " assured them that if they persevered in 
the siege, he should be destroyed." Thereupon Sir War- 
ren and his chevaliers withdrew. 

The royal prisoners were afterwards removed to Kenil- 
worth Castle, and Lady Maud Mortimer, who was warmly 
attached to the queen, helped Prince Edward to escape. 
Having sent him the necessary instructions, she had a 
swift horse concealed in a thicket on a certain day when it 
was planned that he was to ride races with his attendants. 
When all the horses were tired out, he approached the spot 
where Lady Maud's fresh one awaited him, and after 
mounting, he turned to his guard and said : " Commend 
me to my sire, the king, and tell him I shall soon be at 
liberty." He then galloped off to a hill, about a mile 
distant, where a band of armed knights awaited him. 

Although the queen was living in France at this time, 
she made several secret visits to England, to ascertain the 
true state of affairs there. After her husband's dreadful 
defeat at Lewes, she pawned all her jewels, and, with the 
money thus raised, collected a powerful army that might 
have subdued the whole kingdom if they had ever reached 

158 TJie Queens of England 

it. But the Almighty mercifully ordained otherwise, and 
before Queen Eleanor, with her foreign troops, set sail, 
the battle of Evesham was fought and won by Prince 

[A.D. 1265.] At this battle King Henry was wounded 
in the shoulder and would have been cut down by one of 
his own soldiers, who mistook him for an enemy, had be 
not cried out in a feeble voice : " Slay me not, I am Henry 
of Winchester, your king," 

An officer who happened to be within hearing, conducted 
him to Prince Edward, and thus the royal father and son 
met once more. After tenderly embracing his sire, the 
prince knelt to receive his blessing. 

A succession of victories for Edward soon put an end to 
the barons' wars and reinstated the royal family of 
England. It is much to the credit of King Henry, that 
after he was restored to power, not one of his enemies Ix^as 
brought to the scaffold. But he punished them with such 
heavy fines that many of the rebel barons were reduced to 

[A.D. 1269.] Henry HI. lived to witness the comple- 
tion of St. Edward's chapel at Westminster, which he had 
begun fifty years before. On St. Edward's day, October 13, 
1269, assisted by his two sons and his brother, the King 
of the Romans, he bore the bier of Edward the Confessor 
to the chapel and deposited it in the new receptacle. 
This ceremony was witnessed by the whole court, and 
Queen Eleanor offered at the shrine a silver image of the 
Virgin, besides jewels of great value. King Henry 
reserved the old coffin of the saint for his own use, and 
was placed in it just three years later, having expired on 
the 1 6th of November, 1272. 

He was buried at Westminster Abbey, near the shrine 
of Edward the Confessor. His funeral was conducted with 


Eleanor of Provence. 


great magnificence by the Knights Templars — military 
monks who, in the middle ages, acted as bankers and 
money-brokers to all Europe — and they raised a fine 
monument to his memory, which was afterwards inlaid with 
precious stones brought from the Holy Land for that pur- 
pose, by Edward I., King Henry's heir. 

Queen Margaret, of Scotland, followed her royal father 
to the grave within the year, and then, bowed down with 
suffering and sorrow. Queen Eleanor retired to Ambres- 
bury, where four years later she entered the convent and 
took the veil. 

[A.D. 1 29 1.] She survived her husband nineteen years, 
and when she died her body was embalmed and placed in 
a vault until King Edward, her son, returned from his 
campaign in Scotland. Then he summoned all his barons 
■ and clergy to Ambresbury, where the funeral rites were 
duly performed and his mother's body was buried. Her 
heart was conveyed to London and interred in a church. 


EDWARD I. (A.D. 1244-1291). 

Edward I. was only fifteen years old when he accompa- 
nied his mother across the Pyrenees from Bordeaux, to 
claim the hand of Eleanora, sister to King Alphonso of 
Castile, to whom he had been betrothed several months 

[A.D, 1256.] The marriage was solemnized a few days 
after his arrival, feasts and tournaments in honor of the 
event followed, and then the little bride of ten years pro- 
ceeded with her lord to Paris. She was present at the 
feast of kings, given by King Henry to celebrate his 
son's marriage, of which mention is made in the preceding 

When Henry III. and Queen Eleanor returned to 
England, the young couple went with them and made their 
public entry into the metropolis in grand state. 

Among the numerous entertainments given to welcome 
the bride, that which took place at the house of John 
Mansel, the secretary of state, was the most remarkable. 
All the royal family, with their entire retinue, were present, 
and as the mansion was by no means capacious enough to 
accommodate so large a party, tents were erected on the 
surrounding grounds. Considering that seven hundred 
messes of meat were served at one meal, it is not surprising 
that Mansel's house was too small. 


1267. Eleanora of Castile. 163 

A few months later, Prince Edward took his little wife 
to Bordeaux to complete her education, which had scarcely 
begun at the time of her marriage. While she pursued 
her studies, the prince led the life of a knight-errant, 
wandering from place to place, and taking part in various 
tilting matches and tournaments until summoned to 
England to take part in the civil wars that resulted, after 
several years, in the complete restoration of Henry III. 

[A.D. 1265.] Peace was so far established in 1265 as 
to warrant the return of Queen Eleanor, who took her 
daughter-in-law home with her. 

Prince Edward met the ladies at Dover, and was de- 
lighted to welcome his wife, who had, during her absence, 
developed into a remarkably handsome woman. She had 
clear cut, delicate features, a fine figure, and magnificent 
black hair, peculiar to Spanish ladies. 

The young couple set up their establishment at the 
palace of Savoy, built by Edward's uncle, but passed much 
of their time at Windsor Castle, where, a year later, their 
first son was born. He received the name of John, aftej 
his unworthy grandfather. In 1267 a second son was born 
and named Henry. 

Prince Edward was too restless a man and too much of 
a soldier to settle down to a life of luxury and ease, and 
an escape from injury, or perhaps death, that he had one 
day when playing chess at Windsor, turned his thoughts 
towards a crusade. He had just left the table, with no 
special purpose, when the centre stone of the ceiling fell 
and crushed the chair he had occupied. This circumstance 
convinced him that he was under Divine protection and 
that his life was spared for some great work. 

He therefore began his preparations for a campaign in 
Syria forthwith. Prince Edward was eminently fitted for 
a crusader, being a powerful man, t^U, well formed, re- 

164 The Queens of England. 

markably agile in wielding his sword, and an excellent 

His wife loved him so fondly that she resolved to 
accompany him, though it was a sacrifice to leave her two 
lovely little boys. All the hardships and dangers attendant 
upon a crusade were laid before Eleanora in graphic 
colors, but she was willing to brave them all rather than 
let her husband go without her. " Nothing," said this 
faithful wife, " ought to part those whom God hath joined, 
and the way to heaven is as near, if not nearer, from 
Syria as from England or my native Spain." 

Before leaving England, Eleanora, in company \vith 
Queen Eleanor, visited the various shrines throughout the 
kingdom and made offerings, some of them being of great 

[A.D. 1270.] In the spring of 1270 the young couple 
bade farewell to the two sons they were never to see 
again, and set sail for Bordeaux, thence to Sicily, where 
they were to be joined by King Louis of France, with his 

But the death of King Louis occurring at this time, 
deprived Prince Edward of the aid he had counted on, 
and caused his detention for several months. The King 
of Sicily tried to persuade him to abandon the crusade, 
but heroically striking his breast the prince exclaimed : — 
" Sang de Dieic, if all should desert me, I would lay siege 
to Acre, if only attended by FoweiL my groom ! " 

In the spring and summer of 1271 Edward made two 
successful campaigns and defeated the Saracens with 
great slaughter. Returning to Cyprus for reinforcements, 
he undertook the siege of Acre, and established a reputa- 
tion in the Holy Land, not inferior to that of his great 
uncle, Coeur de Lion. 

The Saracen admiral, bent on revenge, sent a messen- 

1 270. Eleanora of Castile. 167 

ger several times to the prince, with letters, in which he 
expressed his desire to become a Christian convert. He 
was always received in private, because the admiral's life 
would be in danger from his own people .unless the utmost 
secrecy were observed. The fifth time the ambassador 
presented himself, Edward was lying on a lounge, clad in 
a loose garment, as the weather was very warm. He was 
soon absorbed in the letters that had been written on pur- 
pose to please him. Suddenly the letter-carrier drew forth 
a poniard and aimed at the prince, who fortunately per- 
ceived the treachery in time to receive the blow on his 
arm. The man made another attempt, but Edward felled 
him to the ground with a powerful kick in the breast, then 
seizing a stool, killed him outright. The sound of the 
scuffle brought in Prince Edward's attendants, one of 
whom beat out the brains of the treacherous messenger. 
" What was the use of striking a dead man ? " asked the 
prince, with stern reproach. 

A surgical operation became necessary before the 
wounded arm could be cured, but at the end of a fortnight 
Edward was able to mount his horse, the attention and 
good nursing of his wife having hastened his recovery. 

Eleanora had a little princess soon afterward, and called 
her Joanna of Acre, from the place of her birth. 

As his army had become much reduced, Prince Edward 
took leave of the Holy Land and returned to Sicily with his 
wife and infant. Sad news awaited them, for a messenger 
announced the death of their two little boys in England, and 
they had scarcely recovered from the shock when another 
arrived to inform them that Henry HI. also had died. 

The firmness and resignation with which Edward had 
borne the loss of his sons now gave way to an outburst of 
grief that surprised every one, particularly as his father's 
death made him King of England. When questioned on 

1 68 The Queens of England. 

the subject Edward replied : " The loss of infants may be 
repaired by the same God that gave them, but when a man 
has lost a good father it is not in the course of nature for 
God to send him another." 

The royal pair spent a year in Rome before returning 
to England. During their passage through France, 
Edward took part in several tournaments, and did not 
land at Dover with his wife until August 2, 1273. 

[A.D. 1273.] Preparations for their coronation were 
speedily concluded, and that important ceremony took 
place on the 19th of August. Great enthusiasm was 
exhibited by the citizens of London, who had enjoyed 
a season of such prosperity since the establishment of 
peace that they were anxious to prove their loyalty to the 
new king and queen by lavish expenditure. Both houses 
of parliament assembled to welcome their majesties, and 
for two weeks after the coronation banquets were served 
every day in the wooden buildings that had been erected 
in the palace grounds for that purpose. The rich and the 
poor, the country yeoman and the Londoner, were welcomed 
alike and entertained free of charge. It was a fortnight 
of universal rejoicing, and the opening reign promised to 
be an exceedingly popular one. But the most remarkable 
feature of the coronation was this : while the king was at a 
feast prepared in the palace for the lords who had attended 
him during the ceremony, King Alexander of Scotland 
came to pay his respects, accompanied by a hundred 
knights. They arrived on horseback, and, as each man 
alighted, his horse was turned loose to become the property 
of any person, no matter what his station, who might be 
lucky enough to capture him. Afterwards came Edmund, 
the king's brother, the Earls of Pembroke and Warren, 
with their train of knights, and the horses of this whole 
party were likewise turned loose. 

1283 Eleanora of Castile. 169 

Llewellyn, the Prince of Wales, did not appear at the 
coronation, and this displeased the king so much that he 
sent to inquire into the cause, whereupon the prince 
replied that as he had reconquered all the Welsh territory 
that Edward's Norman predecessors had taken possession 
of, he owed no homage to the King of England. 

Later, when Llewellyn's bride was on her way to Wales, 
her vessel was captured by the Bristol merchantmen, and 
the damsel was taken prisoner. King Edward treated her 
with courtesy, and placed her in charge of the queen at 
Windsor Castle. Then the prince submitted to the 
required homage with alacrity and went to Worcester, 
where the King and Queen of England met him, bringing 
his lady love with them. The marriage ceremony was 
performed at Worcester Cathedral ; King Edward gave 
the bride away, the queen supported her at the altar, and 
both honored the marriage feast with their presence. A 
year later the young princess died, then her husband 
repented of his homage and suddenly invaded England, 
but he was killed on the battle-field without accomplishing 

[A.D. 1283.] Wales was in such an unsettled state in 
1283 that King Edward found his presence there very 
necessary. The queen went with him and established her 
court at Rhuddlan Castle. By that time the royal couple 
had several children, and their sixth daughter. Princess 
Isabella, was born soon after their arrival in Wales. 

The following year the queen removed to the Castle of 
Caernarv'on, because it was the strongest fortress in Wales, 
and the king wanted to feel that she was safe from insur- 
gents. There, in a gloomy little chamber, ten feet by 
eight, a prince was born on the 25th of April, 1284. The 
room had no fireplace, but tapestry was hung on the walls 
to keep out draughts. It was Queen Eleanora who first 

1 70 The Queens of England. 

put tapestry to this use in England in imitation of a 
Moorish custom that she had seen adopted in Spain. A 
Welsh nurse was procured for the infant, because the 
queen knew that it would please the people to have a 
native woman in that position, Edward I. was at Rhud- 
dlan Castle, trying to negotiate a treaty of peace with the 
authorities of Wales, when a gentleman arrived to inform 
him of the birth of his son. He was so delighted that he 
knighted the man on the spot and made him a present of 
some lands. 

The king then hastened to Caernarvon to see his wife 
and baby. Three days later all the chiefs from the differ- 
ent parts of North Wales met at the castle to tender their 
submission to Edward, and to implore him to appoint them 
a prince of their own land, whose native tongue was 
neither French nor Saxon. 

Edward assured them that he would comply, whereupon 
they promised that if his character was free from stain, 
they would certainly accept 'him without a murmur. Then 
the king ordered his infant son to be brought in, and pre- 
senting him to the assembly, said, " that he was a native of 
their country, his character was without .reproach, that he 
could not speak a word of English or French, and 
that if they pleased, the first words he uttered should be 

As there was no alternative, the rough mountaineers 
kissed the little hand and swore fealty to Edward of 

The queen soon removed to Conway Castle, where she 
was surrounded with all the comforts and luxuries the age 
afforded. Under her influence the Welsh made rapid 
strides towards civilization, and she felt happy to be 
among them ; but they had been so barbarous when she 
first went to their country that the king had to threaten se- 

1 291. Eleanora of Castile. rvi 

vere punishment to any one "who should strike the queen 
or snatch anything out of her hand." 

[A.D. 1285.] King Alexander of Scotland died in 1285, 
and his heiress, the Princess Margaret of Norway, was by 
consent of the nobles of Scotland, solemnly betrothed to 
little Edward of Caernarvon, Prince of Wales. 

In 1290, Queen Eleanora was the mother of nine beauti- 
ful princesses, to whose care and education she devoted a 
great deal of time. They occupied a retired portion of 
Westminster Palace, which was called in consequence, 
Maiden Hall. One of these princesses entered a convent, 
not long after the ninth one was born, and during the same 
year three others married. The rejoicings that attended 
the nuptial ceremonies were suddenly brought to a close 
by a dreadful calamity. It had been arranged that the 
little Queen Margaret of Scotland should go to England to 
be educated under the guidance of Queen Eleanora, but 
she died on the voyage. This sad event was disastrous to 
Scotland, and threatened the prosperity of the whole 
kingdom, by severing the bond that would have united it 
had the marriage between Margaret and Edward been 

[A.D. 1 29 1.] As soon as the king heard of Margaret's 
death he started for Scotland, bidding his beloved Elea- 
nora to follow as speedily as possible. But before he 
reached his destination a messenger overtook him with 
news of the queen's dangerous illness. She had been 
attacked with fever while travelling through Lincolnshire, 
and prevented from proceeding. Edward turned back 
instantly, and everything was lost sight of excepting that 
his dear wife was ill and suffering. Notwithstanding that 
he pushed forward with utmost haste, he arrived too late, 
for the queen was dead. King Edward's grief was so deep 
for a time that he was unable to attend to public affairs of 

1 74 The Queens of England. 

any description. He followed the corpse of his wife for 
thirteen days, stopping at every important town to have 
a funeral ceremony performed at the largest church where 
all the neighboring priests and monks assembled for the 
purpose. As the royal bier approached London the offi- 
cers and principal citizens met it, clad in black hoods and 
gowns, and marched in solemn procession to Westminster 

Queen Eleanora was buried at the feet of her royal father- 
in-law. Besides the beautiful monument in bronze for 
which King Edward paid an Italian artist ;^i7oo, he 
erected others in the shape of a cross in memory of the 
chere reine, as he called his wife, at each of the places 
where the funeral procession halted on the way to Lon- 
don. The last stopping place was the one now called 
Charing Cross, a perversion of the original French, which 
signified " dear queen's cross." 

Eleanora of Castile was sincerely lamented in England ; 
for as Walsingham says of her : " To our nation, she was 
a living mother, the column and pillar of the whole realm. 
She was a godly, modest and merciful princess, who con- 
soled the sorrow-stricken, and made those friends that were 
at discord." 

During the reign of Edward L and Eleanora, sculpture, 
architecture, casting in brass and bronze, and wood-carving 
were encouraged, and many beautiful specimens of these 
branches of art appeared in England. 

Of all the children of this royal couple, the nun-prin- 
cess and Edward IL were the only ones that reached mid- 
dle age. 


EDWARD I. (A.D. 1282-1317.) 

King Edward I. was so grieved at the death of his " chhre 

reine" that he gave himself up to the deepest melancholy, 
which lasted several months. He was growing old, and 
felt the loss of his companion of many years most keenly. 
However, he learned in time to submit to the inevitable, 
and roused himself to attend to the aifairs of his kingdom. 

No sooner did his ministers observe this favorable change 
in the mind of their monarch than they set to work to effect 
further improvement by seeking a successor to the defunct 
queen. Their choice fell on Marguerite, the sister of 
Philip le Bel of France. 

[A. D. 1299.] After the usual preliminaries the treaty 
was duly signed, and the marriage was celebrated at Can- 
terbury, Sept. 8, 1299. 

Marguerite was only seventeen years old, but she was 
such a good, sedate and pious woman that her union with a 
man old enough to be her grandfather proved by no means 
an unhappy one. On the contrary, she exercised a whole- 
some influence over him, and prompted him to many mer- 
ciful and worthy actions. 

It was due to her persuasion that the poor widow. Lady 
Marguerite Howard, was released from a debt to the crown 
which she could not possibly have paid, and many of her 
subjects could cite similar acts prompted by her good and 
tender heart. 

176 The Quee7is of England. 

The citizens of Winchester were deeply indebted to her 
for preserving them from King Henry's wrath when Ber- 
nard Pereres, a hostage from the city of Bayonne, made his 
escape. He had been confided to the care of the mayor 
of Winchester, and was looked upon as a prisoner of the 
greatest importance. King Edward placed a sheriff in 
charge of the city, deprived the people of all their liberties, 
fined the mayor three hundred marks, and shut him up in 
the Marshalsea prison until he should be able to pay the 
sum. The Winchester citizens were in despair, and threw 
themselves on the mercy of their queen. She recalled the 
exhibition of loyalty that they had made when she appeared 
among them a bride, and her heart warmed towards them 
in their distress. Fortunately, she was able to aid them, 
for the king had presented her with the charter of Win- 
chester, thus entitling her to all the fines levied on its cit- 
izens. With this document she presented herself before 
her lord, and claimed the unfortunate mayor with his three 
hundred marks, as her property. Edward yielded, and even 
restored the liberties of which he had, in his displeasure, 
deprived the Winchester people. They never ceased to be 
grateful to Queen Marguerite. 

But tliis occurred after she had been Edward's wife sev- 
eral years. We must return to the beginning of her reign. 

On the Wednesday after his marriage, the king was sud- 
denly and unexpectedly summoned to Scotland because of 
a rebellion that had broken out there. During his absence 
the queen occupied apartments in the Tower, and as the 
small-pox was raging in London that season, her court were 
quarantined in that palace. 

The following year she joined the king in Scotland, but 
stopped at Brotherton in Yorkshire while he was fighting 
his battles. 

[A. D. 1300.] On the first of June, 1300, her first child 


*3o8. Marguerite of France. 179 

was bom. It was a boy, and Queen Marguerite gave him 
the name of Thomas, after the favorite English saint, 
Thomas k Becket of Canterbury. 

The queen occupied Cawood Castle at that time, and 
during the four years she spent in that magnificent fortress, 
her husband was laying siege to one stronghold after 
another, until Scotland was subdued from sea to sea. Stir- 
ling Castle was the last one to yield, but when King Edward 
made his triumphal journey home to England, its brave com- 
mander, Wallace, was carried a captive in the royal train. 

On their return to London, the king and queen gave a 
series of entertainments to celebrate the conquest of Scot- 
land. One of the grandest tournaments ever witnessed in 
England took place at that time, at Westminster Palace, on 
which occasion Prince Edward and two hundred other 
ttoblemen were knighted. In 1308 the queen had another 
son. She named him Edmund, and he afterward became 
the Earl of Kent. 

[A. D. 1308.] King Edward was on his way to Scotland 
in 1308, but fell ill before he reached the border. He lin- 
gered until the Prince of Wales reached him, and with his 
dying breath commanded his son, " to be kind to his little 
brothers, and, above all, to treat with respect and tenderness 
his mother. Queen Marguerite." 

Much sorrow was felt at the death of their warrior king, 
but his wife mourned for the loss of the tender, affectionate 
husband Edward had always been. 

A few months after his death she went to France to be 
present at the marriage of Edward IL, with her niece, Isa- 
bella. On her return to England she lived in seclusion, de- 
voting her time and money to deeds of charity. Margue- 
rite died on the 14th of February, 13 17, at the early age of 
thirty-six, and was buried at the Grey Friars church, a splen- 
did building that she had founded. 


The Queens of England. 

[A. D. 13 1 7.] Her stepson, Edward II., had always loved 
her, and to show his respect for her memory, he not only 
had her pall draped with rich material of silk striped with 
gold, but erected a splendid monument besides. 

Queen Marguerite is the ancestress of all the English 
nobility bearing the name of Howard, who unite in their 
veins the blood of St. Louis with the greatest of the Plan- 
tagenet kings. 



(A.D. 129S-1358.) 

Isabella of France was a princess of the very highest 
rank, her father being Philip IV. of France, and her mother 
Queen of Navarre. But she was likewise one of the worst 
women that ever occupied the throne of England. She* 
was bom in 1295, and when only nine years of age was be- 
trothed to Edward, Prince of Wales. At that time her 
father agreed to settle on her the sum of ;^ 18,000 for her 
marriage portion. 

He was not rich enough to give her so much money, but 
he got possession of it by murdering and robbing the poor 
Knights Templars — a religious body first established at 
Jerusalem to protect pilgrims travelling in the Holy Land. 
Such ill-gotten gain could not be expected to bestow much 
pleasure or profit on the possessor of it. 

When Edward I. was dying, he charged his son to lose 
no time in completing the arrangements for his marriage, 
and the prince had received such favorable reports con- 
cerning the personal charms of his lady-love that he has- 
tened to obey. Before the king was buried he dispatched 
two earls to France to appoint the wedding day. 

He was so much in love, that it is said he lost the king- 
dom of Scotland by hurrying away to get married when his 
presence in that country would have made him its sovereign. 

He need not have been in such hastfe, for Isabella was 
scarcely fourteen years of age, and perhaps if he hadwai'^d 


1 82 The Queens of England. 

until her mind was more matured, she would not have acted 
so unwisely as she did on several occasions afterwards. 

Grand preparations were made at Westminster Palace for 
the reception of the young queen. The royal apartments 
were re-decorated and handsomely furnished, the gardens 
were newly laid out and planted with the rarest flowers, the 
fish-ponds were all cleaned out and freshly supplied, and 
Queen's Bridge was repaired. The royal ship called Mar- 
garet of Westminster was cleaned, painted, and newly fitted 
up under the king's personal direction for the comfort of 
his expected bride, and no trouble or expense was spared 
that could add to her pleasure. 

When everything was ready, Edward appointed his favor- 
ite, Piers Gaveston, guardian of the country, and sailed, ac- 
companied by Queen Marguerite, his stepmother, to meet 
his bride. He landed at Boulogne, where Isabella and her 
royal parents awaited him, and the next day the marriage 
was celebrated at the famous cathedral of that town. 

[A. D. 1308.] Four kings and four queens were present, 
besides a larger number of princes and nobility than had 
ever met together on such an occasion, and the church pre- 
sented an appearance of unusual magnificence. The bride's 
beauty excited the greatest admiration, and she was called 
Isabella the Fair. Had any member of that royal assem- 
bly been told that before the end of her life she would be 
known as the " She-wolf of France," he would not have be- 
lieved it ; appearances are often deceptive. 

Festivities were kept up for nearly two weeks, then the 
newly-wedded couple went to Dover, where they were met 
by a large party of noble ladies and gentlemen who attended 
them to Westminster. 

Among those who met them on their arrival in England 
was the Piers Gaveston whom Edward had left as guardian 
during his absence. This man was the cause of a great 

i5Ai;iiLi.A ui' iK.i:\^^. 

1308. Isabella of France. 185 

deal of trouble later because of his unbounded influence 
over the king, who, the moment he caught sight of his 
favorite, flew to him and threw his arms about his neck 
calling him " brother." 

Isabella's outfit was magnificent. She had two superb 
solid gold crowns ornamented with precious stones, a large 
number of gold and silver drinking vessels, golden spoons, 
fifty silver soup-bowls, twelve large silver dishes, and twelve 
smaller ones. Her dresses were made of gold and silver 
stuff, velvet, and shot silk. Six of them were of the finest 
imported green cloth, six were of mixed and figured mate- 
rial, and six were -scarlet ; she had, besides, a supply of 
costly furs, four hundred and nineteen yards of towels, and 
six dozen nightcaps. She brought with her the tapestry 
for her own chamber, on which were embroidered in gold 
the arms of France, England, and Brabant. 

Her father presented his son-in-law with a large number 
of the costHest rings, jewels, and other precious articles 
that could be found ; but Edward was foolish enough to 
give all to Piers Gaveston, who had a perfect passion for 

Such conduct on the part of her husband made Isabella 
very angry, for she looked upon these handsome gifts from 
her father as part of her dowry, and naturally she objected 
very decidedly to having them handed over to a stranger 
whom she had already begun to dislike. 

Just a month after the marriage the day was appointed 
for the coronation of the young king and queen, but the 
nobles informed Edward that unless his haughty favorite 
were banished from court they would not attend the cere- 
mony. This threat signified that they meant -to refuse their 
oath of allegiance, so Edward was very much alarmed, but 
promised that at the parliament, which was to meet imme- 
diately after the coronation, everything should be arranged 

1 86 The Queens of England. 

to their entire satisfaction. But he gave fresh cause for 
complaint by bestowing upon Piers Gaveston the very high- 
est office at the coronation, — that of bearing the St. Ed- 
ward's crown. This made one of the royal earls so angry 
that he would have killed the favorite on the spot had it 
not been for the respect he felt for the young queen. 

Gaveston had taken it upon himself to manage every- 
thing ; and either his arrangements were badly made, or he 
was so unpopular, that nobody would obey him, for there 
was nothing but disorder and confusion from beginning to 
end. The crowd was so great that several people were 
injured, and one poor knight was knocked down and trod- 
den to death. It was three o'clock in the afternoon before 
the coronation was over, and since early morning those 
engaged in the ceremonies had eaten nothing. The com- 
pany were not seated at the banquet until after dark, and 
then every dish was so poorly cooked and so badly served 
that the hungry nobles were indignant, and felt that they 
could sooner have forgiven the favorite for any offence than 
this one. Isabella, too, was out of humor and exhausted ; 
in short, all classes were dissatisfied, and many of the cus- 
tomary ceremonies had to be omitted because the usual 
masters of them were absent. 

Whether by accident or design, several slights were put 
upon the young queen that made her French followers so 
angry that they went back home and complained ^o her 
father. Besides, Isabella sent a letter filled with com- 
plaints against her husband and his too-powerful favorite. 
This made the King of France use all his influence to 
strengthen the party of French barons who despised Gaves- 
ton, and even to induce the English ones to oppose him, 

Probably, if the queen had been older, her beauty and 
talents might have enabled her to gain such control over 

i3o8- Isabella of France. 187 

her husband that his favorite's presence would have had 
less effect ; but she was so young and inexperienced that, 
although she felt the importance of her position in the 
English court, Edward treated her like a child, and this 
vexed her beyond everything. 

Gaveston was just the sort of a person who could, if he 
chose, lead so weak a young man as Edward II., and, un- 
fortunately, he did so choose. He was very handsome, a 
perfect Adonis, remarkable for his courteous manners, 
courage, and sparkling wit. He would mimic and make 
fun of the peculiarities of the English nobles for the amuse- 
ment of the thoughtless king, which was, of course, most 
displeasing to them, and he even went so far as to ridicule 
the queen. She complained to her father, who secretly 
induced the barons to insist upon the banishment of the 
favorite. Edward was at last compelled to yield, and 
promised to send him beyond the seas, but the wily Gaves- 
ton had recently strengthened his position by marrying a 
niece of the king, so he had himself appointed Governor 
of Ireland. Even his worst enemies own that he ruled that 
country very well. 

But the following year he came back to England to 
attend a tournament. He brought such a magnificent 
retinue, and made so great a display, that the barons were 
jealous, and hated him worse than ever. Little did their 
dislike or their displeasure affect him, for he took his 
revenge by ridiculing them anew, and calling them most 
provoking names. The Earl of Pembroke was dark, thin, 
and sallow-complexioned, so he named him "Joseph the 
Jew ; " the Earl of Warwick, who foamed at the mouth 
when in a passion, was " the Wild Boar of Ardenne ; " and 
the Earl of Lancaster, who dressed peculiarly, was styled 
"the. Stage Player." Thus he made fun of the entire 
party. But the insults were treasured up against him; 

1 88 The Queens of England. 

and when, some years later, his day of reckoning dawned, 
not much mercy was shown him. 

In the meantime he had stirred up such a storm that his 
royal master's throne tottered under him. The queen and 
her uncle, the Earl of Lancaster, with all the barons, 
formed a combination against him so strong that Edward 
dared not oppose it, and dismissed him to Guienne, At 
parting with his favorite, he lavished on him all his jewels, 
even the rings, brooches, and buckles that his young wife 
had presented him with at various times. This was one of 
the most foolish things Edward ever did, and nobody can 
blame Isabella for feeling offended. 

However, she was at that time much beloved by her 
subjects, and, with Gaveston out of the way, we hear no 
more complaints until the year 13 12, when, to her great 
displeasure, he turned up again. This time, with his usual 
lack of judgment, the king had recalled him, and made him 
his principal secretary of state. This was a very high 
office, for he had all the affairs of the country under his 
control, and so determined was he to keep Edward under 
his thumb that nobody could speak to him excepting 
through the secretary. 

This arrangement gave great offence, and when the 
young queen saw how the royal favorite was injuring her 
husband by making the nation dislike him, and, what was 
still worse, by leading him into dissipation and other acts 
of folly, she angrily remonstrated with him. He forgot the 
respect due to her rank, and answered with contempt, 
whereupon she complained to the king. But instead of 
upholding his wife and punishing his insolent favorite, 
Edward treated the matter with the utmost indifference. 
Isabella was furious, and wrote to her father, the King of 
France, a letter filled with bitter complaints of her hus- 
band's coldness and neglect, saying, "that she was the 

13 1 2. Isabella of France, 189 

most wretched of wives, and that Gaveston was the cause 
of all her troubles." 

In reply, Philip secretly urged the peers to rebel, which 
they did at last, headed by the Earl of Lancaster, and 
determined to compel Edward to dismiss his hated secre- 
tary of state. Then began a civil war, the most horrible 
disaster that can overtake any country. Edward, evidently 
considering discretion the better part of valor, ran away 
with his wife and his favorite. They got as far as York, 
but the victorious barons entered that place in triumph, 
and the two fugitives sailed for Scarborough, leaving the 
poor young queen alone, although she entreated her hus- 
band with tears in her eyes to take her along. 

Finding herself forsaken, Isabella retired to a remote 
castle, where she passed her time in visiting the sick and 
poor, which the following notes, found in the royal house- 
hold book, prove : — 

[A.D. 1312.] "October 9. To little Thomeline, the Scotch 
orphan boy, to whom the queen, being moved to charity by his 
miseries, gave food and raiment to the amount of six and six- 

And again : 

" To the same orphan, on his being sent to London to dwell 
with Agnes, the wife of Jean, the queen's French organist; for 
his education, for necessaries bought him, and for curing his 
maladies, fifty-two shillings and eightpence." 

While at this castle the queen received a message from 
her uncle Lancaster assuring her of her safety, and telling 
her that they were only fighting to get hold of Gaveston. 

The king, in the meantime, having left his favorite in the 
strong fortress of Scarborough, proceeded to the midland 
counties to raise forces for his defence. ' But the men of 
England were so indignant at the treatment their young 


The Queens of England 

queen had received at the hands of her husband and his 
unworthy guide, that instead of obeying the orders they 
received, they rose en masse to storm Gaveston in his 
sheher. Being destitute of provisions, and knowing that 
he could not withstand a siege, he surrendered on condi- 


tion that he was to be safely conducted to the king and 
allowed to speak with him freely before his trial. 

The barons, after solemnly swearing to observe this 
treaty, lost no time in bringing their prisoner to a sham 
trial. No mercy tempered their judgment of a man who 
had ridiculed and defied them, so they beheaded him then 
and there. Afterwards they enjoyed the extreme satisfac- 
tion of ransacking the luckless favorite's baggage, and 

1312. Isabella of France. 19 1 

found many of the crown jewels, a number of precious 
ornaments that had been presented to the king, and several 
articles of gold and silver plate from the royal house- 

When Edward heard of the murder of his friend, he was 
beside himself with rage and grief, and swore vengeance 
on the heads of those who had committed the deed. He 
then joined the queen and went with her to Windsor, where 
their first child, afterwards Edward III., was born. 

He was a fine healthy baby, and his parents, as well as 
the English nation, and the French nobles who were in the 
country were all delighted at this happy event. Four days 
after his birth the little fellow was baptized with great 
pomp, having no less than seven godfathers. 

After this period, Isabella's influence over her husband 
was so strengthened that she brought about a reconciliation 
between him and his barons, and there was peace in the 
realm once more. Then the king and queen made a 
pleasure trip to Paris, where they spent two months en- 
joying the feasts and amusements which the magnificent 
and wealthy court of Philip provided for their entertain- 

At last, through the entreaties of the queen, the pardon 
to all those who had assisted in causing the death of 
Gaveston was published, and her excellent influence was 
felt in many ways. 

During the next ^ew years another prince and a princess 
were born, and on each occasion presents of great value 
were distributed by the royal pair. 

In the household book there is mention of the king's 
gift of ;^333, " to Isabella, Queen of England, for the bap- 
tismal feast after the birth of the Lady Eleanora." There 
are also these entries, showing something of the fashions 
of the time : — 

192 The Queens of England. 

"To Vanne Ballard, for pieces of silk and gold tissue of fus- 
tian and of flame-colored silk for the making of cushions for the 
charrettes (carriages) of the queen and her ladies." 

" To Robert le Termor, the bootmaker of Fleet Street, for six 
pairs of boots with tassels of silk and drops of silver gilt, price of 
each pair five shillings, bought for the king's use." 

When the royal couple kept Twelfth Night their presents 
were very generous. To one of their subjects they gave a 
silver gilt pitcher with stand and cover; to another, for 
presenting bunches of new grapes, ioj. ; to another, for 
bringing a box of rose-colored sugar, £2 \os.\ to the 
mother of the king's fool, ioj., besides many others. To 
the Lady Mary, the king's sister, who was a nun, fifteen 
pieces of tapestry with coats-of-arms embroidered thereon, 
besides £2^ on her departure from court, and to three of 
his knights for dragging him out of bed on Easter morning 
Edward paid ;^2o. 

[A.D. 13 1 7.] During this fourteenth century there was 
the most dreadful famine ever known in England, which 
lasted nearly three years. On one occasion, when the king 
and queen were dining in public in the great hall of the 
palace at Westminster, a woman, wearing a mask, entered 
on horseback, rode straight up to the royal table, and 
handed a letter to the king. Thinking that it probably 
contained some agreeable flatter)', he ordered it to be read 
aloud. But, to his great mortification, it took him severely 
to task for his unkingly fancies, and blamed his bad gov- 
ernment for all the calamities that had befallen the country. 
The woman was immediately arrested, and confessed that 
she had been employed by a certain knight. The person 
she named boldly acknowledged that he had written the 
letter, supposing that it would be read in private, and that 
the king would thus be informed of the complaints of his 


Isabella of France. 


[A.D. 1321.] 
It was about 
four years after 
this event that 
the queen first 
met Roger 
Mortimer, the 
man who exer- 
cised such an 
influence over 
her life. By 
this time the 
king had two 
new favorites 
named De- 
spencer. They 
were father 
and son, and 
both were bit- 
ter enemies to 
Roger Morti- 

The circum- 
stances of Isa- 
bella's life so 
began to shape 
themselves at 
this period that 
from being a 
lovely, amiable 
peace - maker, 
she became a 
bad, cruel, dis- 
honored trai- 

194 The Qtieens of England. 

In 132 1 she set out on a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. 
Thomas k Becket, proposing to spend the night at Leeds 
Castle, which was her own property. Baron Badlesmere 
had charge of this castle, and lived there with his wife, so 
Isabella sent a marshal in advance to have everything put 
in order for her reception, not imagining for a moment 
that any objection could possibly be raised to her stopping 
there. But the baron was absent from home, and had 
charged his wife to protect the castle from any intruders 
whatsoever. Not knowing what might be the real object 
of the queen's visit. Lady Badlesmere did just the wrong 
thing when the royal messengers arrived, treated them with 
insolence, and said, " that the queen might seek some other 
lodging, for she would admit nobody within the castle with- 
out an order from her lord." 

The messenger w^as still arguing the case with the lady 
when Isabella arrived at the castle gates with her train. 
A volley of arrows greeted the party, and killed six of the 
royal escort. The queen was obliged to seek other shelter 
for the night, but she was excessively angrj', and com- 
plained bitterly to the king of the treatment she had 
received, begging him to avenge the insolence of Lady 
Badlesmere for daring to exclude her from her own castle. 
Badlesmere himself was foolish enough to send a most 
insulting letter to the queen in reply to the complaints that 
had been addressed to him concerning his wife's conduct, 
declaring that he heartily approved of what she had done. 
As this baron had held the high position of steward of the 
royal household before he was placed in charge of Leeds 
Castle, it is probable that the queen had done something 
to make him her enemy. Neither her Uncle Lancaster nor 
any of his associates seemed inclined to side with Isabella, 
so she determined to be revenged on them all, and would 
not rest until her husband promised to besiege the castle. 


Isabella of France. 


A large force was soon gathered together before the walls, 
but Lady Badlesmere felt certain that, with the stock of 
provisions she had laid in, she could resist any attack, 
besides she expected all the barons to side with her. But 


she soon found out her mistake, and in a few days the 
Castle of Leeds was obliged to surrender, and eleven of its 
defenders, including Badlesmere, were hanged just outside 
the gate. Lady Badlesmere was sent to the Tower of 
London as a state prisoner. 

\g6 The Queens of England. 

Isabella now did all in her power to influence the king 
against the barons, instead of working to restore peace, as 
she once did. So he fought against them in person, and 
Lancaster was seized in the battle. He was sentenced by 
the king with the least possible delay, and beheaded a few 
hours later. The queen knew nothing about her uncle's 
sentence until too late, otherwise, it is to be hoped, she 
would have endeavored to save him. She was living in 
the Tower at the time, and it was there that her youngest 
child, the Lady Joanna, was born. 

Roger Mortimer had been captured while fighting against 
the king, and imprisoned in the Tower under sentence of 
death ; but he managed in some unaccountable manner to 
see Isabella, and get her interested in him. Her influence 
was all-powerful at that period, so, to the astonishment of 
everybody, she made Edward change Mortimer's sentence 
of death to imprisonment for life, though he had really 
commenced the civil war by a fierce attack on the lands of 
the Despencers. These men now hated the queen more 
than ever for assisting their enemy. 

The following year Mortimer planned his escape from 
the Tower with the assistance of the constable and others. 
The queen herself provided a drink for the guard that put 
them into a heavy sleep. Then the prisoner, who had 
worked a hole from his dungeon into the kitchen of the 
royal apartments, climbed up the chimney and got out on 
the roof, along which he stealthily crawled to the Thames 
side, and descended by a rope ladder. The constable 
awaited him in a little boat, and rowed him across the 
river, where seven of his friends met him on horseback. 
With this guard he went to the coast of Hampshire, and 
pretended to sail to the Isle of Wight ; but, instead of that, 
the fugitive got on board a large ship that had been en- 
gaged for him, and was soon landed in Normandy. Thence 

1325- Isabella of France. \<yj 

he went to Paris. When the king heard of the escape a 
great hue and cry was raised for Mortimer, dead or alive, 
but his whereabouts were not suspected, and he remained 
safely hidden in France. 

The Despencers now began to influence the king as 
powerfully as Gaveston had done, and the queen com- 
menced her plans for their destruction. She declared that 
they were the cause of all the recent bloodshed, and pre- 
tended that her Uncle Lancaster was a saint and a martyr, 
who only met his death by the advice of these favorites. 

They had really committed one fault for which Isabella 
could not forgive them ; they had caused her allowance to 
bt curtailed, and no one ever offended her without paying 
dearly for it. 

She had ceased to be lovable to the king, and so had 
lost her hold on him ; but for this also she blamed the 
Despencers. Then she was deprived, by their advice, of 
her French servants and of all her possessions in England. 
She and her husband quarrelled to such an extent that at 
last they refused to see each other at all. 

But Isabella was not meek enough to stand ill-treatment, 
so she complained to her brother, King Charles, who had 
succeeded to the throne of France. He wrote a very 
indignant letter to Edward, declaring his intention of seiz- 
ing all the provinces of the French crown held by England. 
But Edward was not prepared for war, and neither he nor 
his ministers dared to go to France to face the angry 
brother of Isabella. 

[A.D. 1325.] In this dilemma the queen volunteered 
her services as peace-maker, providing she might be 
allowed to go to Paris herself. Edward was only too 
happy to have the matter so easily settled, and the De- 
spencers were delighted at the thought of getting rid of 
her. Isabella had a little plan of her own which she 

198 The Queens of England. 

intended to carry out. The first step was a treaty of 
peace, which she arranged on her arrival in France, be- 
tween her brother and the King of England. She was not 
at all surprised when the Despencers, who feared her influ- 
ence over the weak mind of Edward, had dissuaded him 
from crossing the channel with her, even after his arrange- 
ments had been made. In fact, this was exactly what she 
had desired, because it enabled her to propose that her 
son, the Prince of Wales, should be invested with certain 
powers which she named, and sent in his father's stead. 
Both the king and the Despencers fell into the snare, and 
Isabella got the heir to the throne of England into her own 

As soon as Isabella found herself safe in France with 
her son, she laughed in her sleeve at the way she had 
hoodwinked her husband and his despised favorites. She 
was just where she wanted to be, and had no intention of 
returning to England until affairs there had changed to her 
complete satisfaction. She and her brother. King Charles, 
had concocted a treaty, it is true, but it was so written as 
to be almost incomprehensible, and to leave much matter 
for dispute between the two sovereigns. 

Isabella made all sorts of frivolous excuses for prolong- 
ing her stay in Paris, where she was joined by her favorite 
Mortimer and all the banished English lords. Although 
these people were open enemies of her husband and his 
government, the wicked queen held councils and meetings 
with them, while she refused to have anything to do with 
the commissioners Edward had appointed. 

The Bishop of Exeter, horrified at her disgraceful be- 
havior, went over to England to inform the king of it, and 
to advise him to command her immediate return with the 
Prince of Wales. 

Edward wrote several letters to his wife on this subject, 

1325- Isabella of France. 199 

but she paid no attention either to his entreaties or his 
orders. She declared openly "that it was the intention of 
the Despencers to cause her to be put to death if she 
returned to England." She knew better, but this state- 
ment aided her schemes, and she even succeeded in de- 
ceiving her brother, King Charles of France, who wrote 
King Edward " that he could not permit her to return to 
him unless she were guaranteed from the evil that was 
meditated against her by her. enemies, the Despencers." 

Edward's reply to this letter was manly and dignified. 
He begged his brother-in-law not to credit anything so 
false, but to send back his wife, of whom he wrote in kind, 
affectionate terms. 

Isabella refused to go, and used her vile influence to 
encourage her son's disobedience in this matter also. Ed- 
ward II. was very much hurt, and wrote frequently to his 
wife, reminding her of her duty, and taking her severely to 
task for her disloyal conduct. 

It seems that during this time Isabella was treacherous 
enough to write most friendly letters to Hugh Despencer, 
even though •he had openly pronounced him her enemy. 

What offended King Edward most of all was that his 
son, whom he loved dearly, was not only kept away from 
him, but that he constantly associated with his mother's 
friend and adviser, Mortimer, who had proved himself a 
shameless, worthless traitor. Besides, Isabella had con- 
tracted a marriage between her son and a daughter of 
Count Hainault without the slightest mention of the matter 
to her husband, and had even gone so far as to receive the 
bride's marriage dowry, which was paid in advance, and 
used it for her own private expenses. 

Edward's touching appeals took effect at last on the 
heart of King Charles, who began to treat his sister coolly 
and to urge her return to England. But she had gone too 

200 The Queens of EnglaJid. 

far to stop now, and her influence over her son was so 
great that she made him believe her life was in danger 
both at the hands of his father and the Despencers. The 
young man naturally felt that he must stay by his perse- 
cuted mother, and, if necessary, defend her. 

Edward then applied to the Pope, who threatened to 
excommunicate King Charles if he did not immediately 
dismiss Isabella and her son from his dominions. The 
King of France was much alarmed at this threat, and did 
not hesitate to act upon it at once, particularly as he was 
so displeased with his sister that he had not spoken to her 
for a long time. He swore *' that whoever should speak in 
behalf of his sister, the Queen of England, should forfeit 
his lands and be banished the realm." 

Isabella had a cousin named Robert d'Artois, who was 
warmly attached to her. One night he woke her up to 
inform her of a conspiracy that he had just discovered to 
deliver her, the prince, the Earl of Kent, her husband's 
brother, and Mortimer over to King Edward. 

The queen was so alarmed that she did not know which 
way to turn. Robert advised her to go to (Jermany, and 
place herself under the protection of William, Earl of 
Hainault, whose wife was her cousin. This plan struck 
her favorably, and the next night she left Paris with Mor- 
timer, her son, and the Earl of Kent,^ who always sided 
with her against his brother. King Edward. 

After some days they got into the country of Cambray, 
and lodged at the house of a poor knight, who received the 
party with great pleasure, and entertained them in the best 
possible manner. The Earl of Hainault was a good, kind- 
hearted man, and felt very sorry when he thought of the 
queen's being obliged to seek refuge in a foreign country, 
so he sent his young brother. Sir John, with a few other 
gentlemen, to pay his respects to Isabella and conduct 


1325 Isabella of France. 203 

her to Valenciennes, where he was then living with his 

Sir John, being filled with the spirit of a true knight- 
errant, burst into tears when he heard Isabella's sad com- 
plaints from her own lips. " Lady," he said, " see here 
your knight who will not fail to die for you, though every 
one else should forsake you ; therefore I will do everything 
in my power to conduct you safely to England with your 
son, and to restore you to your rank with the assistance of 
your friends in those parts ; and I, and all those whom I 
can influence, will risk our lives on the adventure for your 
sake ; and we shall have a sufficient armed force, if it 
please God, without fearing any danger from the King of 

The queen would have thrown herself at his feet, but he 
would not allow it, and said, as he caught her in his arms : 
" God forbid that the Queen of England should do such a 
thing ! Madam, be of good comfort to yourself and com- 
pany, for I will keep my promise, and you shall come to 
see my brother and the countess, his wife, and all their 
fine children, who will be rejoiced to see you, for I have 
heard them say so." 

The queen answered : " Sir, I find in you more kindness 
and comfort than in all the world besides ; and I give you 
five hundred thousand thanks for all you have promised 
with so much courtesy. I and my son shall be forever 
bound unto you, and we will put the kingdom of England 
under your management, as in justice it ought to be." 

Then Isabella mounted her horse, and set off with her 
train to follow Sir John to Valenciennes. Many of the 
citizens of that town came forth to meet her, and she was 
received very graciously by the Earl of Hainault and his 
wife, who gave several feasts in her honor. 

Isabella spent a week in this hospitable household, 

204 The Queens of England. 

during which Sir John's sympathies were so aroused in her 
behalf that he obtained his brother's permission to accom- 
pany her to England. In the meantime he had written to 
certain knights in other parts of the country, beseeching 
them to arm in the cause of the distressed Queen of Eng- 
land. The expedition gathered at Dort, where the queen 
and her suite met them. Here they all embarked, but the 
fleet was tossed about by a tempest for several hours, and 
some of the ships were knocked to pieces. At last the 
queen was brought safely to shore near Harwich, and her 
knights and attendants built her a tent of carpets, and kin- 
dled a great fire of pieces of the wrecked vessels. Then 
all the horses and arms were taken from the ships which, 
the wind being favorable by that time, were sent around to 
the opposite coast. At daybreak the queen marched with 
her army to the next town, where she found the houses well 
stocked with all sorts of provisions, though the people had 
fled in terror, not knowing what to expect. 

The advanced guard, meantime, marched through the 
country, seizing all the cattle and food they could get hold 
of, and spreading misery in every direction. When Isabella 
came along the owners complained bitterly, but she paid 
them most liberally for all they had lost. The money thus 
distributed made the queen popular, and the people were 
anxious to supply her with whatever she desired after that. 

Although the king had forbidden his subjects to meet 
Isabella, when she arrived at Harwich a large number of 
knights, barons, and bishops were assembled to welcome 
her. Her force numbered two thousand seven hundred 
and fifty-seven soldiers, commanded by Sir John of Hai- 
nault, and Roger Mortimer commanded the English, who 
joined them after they landed. 

So many false stories had been circulated by the queen's 
agents of the persecutions she had endured from her hus- 


Isabella of France. 


band and his barbarous ministers, and of the way she had 
been driven into a foreign land by plots against her life, 
that she was considered the most injured of wives and 
queens. The common people were blinded by excitement, 
and flocked to meet her without stopping to inquire whether 
her cause were just or not. All the tales of her guilty con- 


duct that had reached them from time to time they now 
believed to have been pure inventions of her enemies, the 
Despencers. No voice was raised against her though she 
came with her son, the Prince of Wales, attended by an 
outlawed traitor and a band of foreigners to raise a revolt 
against her own husband. It seems strange that such a 
wicked woman should have met with such success; but 

2o6 The Queens of England. 

every Plantagenet in England was on her side, and she had 
many French relations there who always had thought her 
of more importance than the king. 

Instead of taking measures to defend himself, Edward 
wrote pathetic letters to the Pope and to the King of 
France asking for aid, and issued a proclamation offering 
;^i,ooo for the head of the arch traitor, Roger Mortimer. 
The queen then offered a reward of double that sum for 
the head of the younger Despencer, and declared that her 
only motive in coming home was to deliver England from 
the king's bad advisers. 

When Isabella attended church at Oxford in company 
with her son, Mortimer, and all her followers, the Bishop 
of Hereford preached the sermon and explained the queen's 
motive for taking up arms, concluding with this sentence : 
" When the head of a kingdom becometh sick and diseased, 
it must be taken off without useless attempts to administer 
any other remedy." It is shocking to think of the wife and 
son of a man so devoted to both, as King Edward certainly 
was, listening to such a murderous speech without express- 
ing their horror and indignation. But the only effect of it 
was to increase the madness of the populace against the 
unhappy king, who, attended by the two Despencers and a 
few other friends, fled to Bristol, intending to seek refuge 
in Ireland. 

His departure was the signal for a general uprising of 
the Londoners, who mobbed the Tower, and set all the 
prisoners free in the queen's name. Then Isabella pursued 
her husband with her army, which had largely increased^ 
and laid siege to Bristol. The king shut himself up with 
the younger Despencer in the castle, much grieved to see 
how all his subjects had turned against him. The older 
Despencer was seized and brought before Isabella, who 
declared " that she should see that law and justice were 

1325- Isabella of France. 20>7 

executed on him according to his deeds." " Ah, madam," 
he replied ; " God grant me an upright judge and a just 
sentence ! and that if I cannot find it in this world, I may 
find it in another." 

The knight was ninety years of age when he made this 
reply, but that was of no consequence to Isabella ; she had 
him in her power at last, and was determined to punish 
him. He was sentenced, and his execution took place 
within sight of his son and the king, who were still shut up 
in the castle. So alarmed were they at the old man's tragic 
fate that they endeavored to escape to Wales in a little 
boat. After tossing about for some days they were driven 
back by contrary winds to within a mile of the castle they 
had fled from. A knight, observing the efforts of the boat- 
men, rowed out in his own barge with a strong force to see 
what was the matter, and soon succeeded in capturing the 
king and his favorite, both of whom were delivered over to 
the queen as her prisoners. 

Now Isabella's evil nature blazed out and showed her 
real character. She started with all her army for London, 
having caused Sir Hugh Despencer to be bound to the 
smallest and meanest horse that could be found, and 
dressed in his mantle of state, on which was embroidered 
his coat-of-arms. Thus was he led in mockery through all 
the towns they passed, his approach being announced by 
trumpets and cymbals. When they reached Hereford the 
royal party were received with great rejoicing, and stopped 
there to celebrate the feast of All Saints. 

The unfortunate Hugh Despencer, who had eaten not a 
mouthful since the moment of his arrest, now became faint, 
and Isabella feared that he might succumb before reaching 
London. He was, therefore, brought to trial without fur- 
ther delay, and most crtielly put to death. 

Several other gentlemen who had in one way or another 

208 The Queens of Eftgland. 

offended either the queen or her friend, Mortimer, were 
executed in the same place. 

When the army, which had been increased to an enor- 
mous size by volunteers by the way, arrived in London, 
great crowds flocked to welcome them, presenting costly 
gifts to Isabella and some of her followers. 

On the 7th of January parliament met and decided to 
remove their absent sovereign, proclaiming the Prince of 
Wales King of England by the title of Edward III. When 
this was made known to the queen she pretended to be 
very much distressed, and actually forced herself to shed 
tears, though it was precisely what she had worked for. 
But she overacted her part, and her counterfeit tears so 
deceived her son that he made a solemn vow not to accept 
the crown unless his royal father should willingly resign it 
to him. 

This was awkward ; for how could a committee wait 
upon the king to ask him to abdicate ? But young Edward 
adhered to his resolution, and a dozen commissioners were 
appointed by Isabella to demand of the fallen monarch his 
crown, sceptre, and the rest of the regalia. 

They proceeded to Kenilworth Castle, where Edward 
was kept as a state prisoner, and in a cruel, heartless man- 
ner pointed out to him the errors he had committed as 
their reason for desiring him to resign his crown. Edward 
listened to the mortifying recital and wept bitterly. At 
length he replied, " that he knew he was punished for his 
many sins, and was grieved for having incurred the hatred 
of his people. He was glad his eldest son was so gracious 
in their sight, and gave them thanks for choosing him to 
be their king." Although the poor monarch had fainted 
during this interview, he failed to arouse the sympathy of 
the commissioners. 

Edward II. was by no means a bad man, for his chief 

1326. Isabella of France. 209 

faults were those of judgment, and at times want of dig- 
nity, which led him to engage in boyish frolics, and occa- 
sionally to drink to excess. 

[A.D. 1326.] On the following Christmas day, 1326, 
young King Edward, who was just fifteen years of age, 
was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Then twelve bishops 
and nobles were appointed to advise and assist the youth- 
ful sovereign in affairs of state. The queen offered no 
objection, but as she had the military power in her own 
hands she made Roger Mortimer her prime minister, and 
demanded an enormous sum of money for her own use. 
She sent presents and deceitful messages full of affection 
to her husband, who in return wrote to request the favor 
of being once more permitted to see her and his son. But 
Isabella was never softened towards him, though she was, 
to a great extent, the cause of his unfortunate situation. 
She was so thoroughly hard-hearted that, when she heard 
he was kindly treated at Kenilworth, she had him removed 
from one place to another under the care of two brutal 
fellows whose cruelties were too horrible to mention. One 
night, just a year after the queen's return, Edward II. was 
put to death by her order in Berkeley Castle, and buried 
privately. Then the nation became indignant; many of 
Isabella's friends deserted her when they found that they 
had been the tools of an artful, ambitious, depraved 
woman, and a strong party was organized to get rid of her. 
She had committed more crimes in one year than the late 
king and his ministers had done in twenty, though she pre- 
tended to be a reformer. 

She was a cruel hypocrite, planning, with the slyness of 
a cat, the destruction of each member of the royal family. 
Knowing that the Earl of Kent was most miserable on 
account of the part he had taken in her proceedings, she 
caused somebody to tell him that his brother was not dead. 


TJie Queens of England. 

but a prisoner at Corfe Castle. The earl employed a friar 
to inquire whether this was true. He was assured that it 
was, and had shown to him at a distance a person seated 


at a table so disguised as to resemble the dead king. The 
earl then went to the castle and requested the governor to 
conduct him to his brother's apartment. The governor did 


1326. Isabella of France. 213 

not deny that Edward was in the castle, but said that he 
was not permitted to let any one see him, upon which the 
earl wrote a letter to be conveyed to the supposed pris- 
oner. This letter was immediately carried to the queen, 
who used it as a pretence for the earl's arrest, and after an 
absurd trial he was unjustly condemned to die. His 
estates passed into the hands of Mortimer's son. 

By this time Roger Mortimer had made himself so 
offensive with his haughty display and his cruelty that the 
king had him arrested and locked up in the Tower. A few 
days later he was executed with several of his friends, and 
his body hung on the gallows at Tyburn for two days. 

Having thus rid himself of his worst enemy, Edward IH. 
ordered his mother to live at Castle Rising, where, with 
plenty of people to wait on her, and everything to make 
her comfortable, she passed her time quietly, having no 
chance to scheme or plot against the government. 

There she remained for about twenty-seven years, receiv- 
ing occasional visits from her son, who never permitted her 
name to be mentioned in his presence, excepting with great 

[A.D. 1358.] She died in 1358, and was buried by 
Edward III. with much ceremony at Grey Friars' Church, 
her body being attired in the uniform of that order of 

A fine alabaster tomb was erected to her memory, the 
only inscription thereon being : 



(A.D. 13H-1369). 

When Edward, Prince of Wales, was, with his mother, 
compelled to seek refuge at the house of the Count of 
Hainault (of which we have given an account in the story 
of Isabella of France), he fell violently in love with the 
count's second daughter, Philippa, and she returned his 
affection. She was only fifteen years of age, and he a few 
months older, but they formed an attachment that lasted 
throughout their lives. Philippa was a brilliant Flemish 
beauty, whose excellent heart and lovable disposition 
endeared her to all who knew her. Later, as Queen of 
England, she proved a blessing to that country by the 
wisdom and good judgment she displayed in encouraging 
manufactures and trade. But before she assumed that 
position she was doomed to many months of anxiety and 
uncertainty; for her young lover, after only a fortnight's 
enjoyment of her society, departed on the dangerous expe- 
dition of invading his father's kingdom. There was 
considerable doubt as to whether he would ever return, 
because not only were the affairs of his country in such 
a condition that he could not foretell what turn they might 
take, but the relatives of both the lovers might interpose 
many objections to their union. 

It was not the custom in those days for the heir of 
England to acknowledge that he had made his choice of a 
wife without first consulting his parliament and councillors, 


riiiLIPPA OF HAl.NACi-i. 

1327. Philippa of Hainault. 217 

but young Edward imparted his secret to his mother, and, 
as she had taken a great fancy to pretty Philippa, she 
promised to aid him as best she could. Therefore as soon 
as possible after her return home she led the public authori- 
ties to decide that one of the four daughters of the Count 
of Hainault would be the most desirable alliance for her 
son, but without naming which one. However, we may be 
very sure that the young man gave his own private instruc- 
tions to his messengers, for they made no mistake in their 
choice, nor is it likely that he would risk trusting entirely 
to their discretion as to which of the young Hainault 
ladies would prove most worthy to become Queen of 

The messengers applied first to Sir John, Philippa's 
uncle, who had been in England fighting the cause of the 
new king, and requested his assistance in the selection of 
a wife for their young sovereign. Sir John received them 
with all the honors he could lavish, and gave them the 
most sumptuous feasts and splendid entertainments of all 
sorts. After several days spent in this manner, he con- 
ducted them to Valenciennes, where they were equally well 
received at his brother's house. A special dispensation 
was required from the Pope, because the two mothers of 
the lovers were cousins ; so messengers were sent to obtain 
it, which they did without much difficulty. 

[A.D. 1327.] As soon as Edward heard that all neces- 
sary arrangements had been completed, he ordered the 
marriage ceremony to be performed at Valenciennes, 
though as he was engaged in a war on the Scottish border 
with the renowned Robert Bruce, he could not be present. 
In the absence of the bridegroom, the wedding must have 
been rather a tame affair, but there was no help for it, and 
preparations were made for a grand display. The costume 
and equipage of the bride were unusually costly and elegant, 

21 8 The Queens of Engla7id. 

no expense or pains being spared to render the lestival 
worthy of the wealthy country in which it was given. 

Afterwards Philippa, accompanied by her Uncle John 
and a large retinue, proceeded to Dover, and then to 
London, where a solemn procession of the clergy introduced 
her into the city, and she was presented by the lord mayor 
with a service of silver worth three hundred pounds as a 
marriage gift. The city was illuminated, and there were 
great rejoicings, feasts and public entertainments of all 
sorts, that were kept up for three weeks after the bride's 

She did not stay long in London, however, but hurried 
on to York to meet her husband, being received with 
honors at every town through which she passed. All the 
parliament and royal council assembled at the union of the 
young king and his bride, as well as a hundred of the 
principal nobility of Scotland, who came to conclude a 
final peace with England. 

Nothing is said about the bride's marriage dowry, because 
the queen-mother had already got possession of it and 
spent it. She had besides so managed to get hold of the 
public funds that the young sovereign of England was 
nearly penniless. The following summer was passed by 
the new couple at Woodstock, the beautiful country residence 
which was the favorite home of Philippa so long as Isabella, 
the queen-mother, and Mortimer ruled the kingdom. 

Sir John of Hainault returned to his native land laden with 
jewels and rich presents, almost all of his countrymen accom- 
panying him. Among the few who remained behind was a 
youth named Sir Walter Mauny, whose office was to carve 
for Philippa. He became one of the first Knights of the 
Garter, an order established by Edward IIL, of which we 
shall hear later. 

[A.D. 1330.] The coronation of the young queen did 


Philippa of Hainault. 


not take place for nearly two years after her marriage. 
All the customary duties were performed on that occasion, 
but the ceremony was remarkable for the absence of dis- 
play on account of the emptiness of the treasury. 

The queen-mother, with her favorite, Mortimer, had used 
up all the public funds for their own support, but young 
Edward was not going to stand such a state of aifairs much 

longer, and before the close of the year he had liberated 
himself from his wicked mother's control and executed her 

With the reins of government in his own hands, the 
young king, aided by his good and sensible wife, set to 
work to reform the abuses of his mother's reign and to 
establish most excellent and satisfactory laws. 

Edward had a very violent temper, which would have led 
him to commit many an act of cruelty and injustice had it 
not been for the influence of his kind-hearted, virtuous 

220 The Queens of England. 

[A.D, 1330.] Her eldest son, Edward, sumamed the 
Black Prince on account of the color of the armor he wore 
in battle, was born while she was living at Woodstock, and 
in celebration of that event a grand tournament was 
arranged to take place in London. Philippa, with all the 
noble ladies, was invited to attend. The preparations 
were on a much grander scale than usual, thirteen knights 
being engaged on either side. The arena was covered 
with sand to prevent the horses' feet from slipping ; flags 
and banners were ingeniously arranged as decorations, and 
a temporary platform was erected and ornamented for the 
accommodation of the queen and her ladies. No sooner 
were they all seated than the scaffolding gave way, and 
they tumbled pell-mell to the ground. Fortunately the 
platform was not high, and nobody was hurt, but the ladies 
were terribly frightened, and, for a few moments, the con- 
fusion and excitement were very great. 

The king flew into a perfect fury and vowed that the 
careless carpenters should instantly be put to death. This 
was rather a severe sentence, particularly as the damage 
was slight, and so Philippa considered it, for scarcely had 
she recovered from her fright than she threw herself on her 
knees before her angry husband, and pleaded with angelic 
sweetness for the pardon of the poor men. Edward soon 
became calm under the influence of her gentle voice and 
words, and forgave the offenders. 

Up to this time all the wool grown in England had been 
sent to the Netherlands to be manufactured into cloth, and 
Philippa remembered what a source of profit and occupa- 
tion it had been for her own country. She therefore set to 
work to establish a manufacturing colony at Norwich, and a 
letter was sent to John Kemp of Flanders, cloth-weaver, 
in which he is informed, " that if he will come to England 
with the servants and apprentices of his mystery, and with 

1335- Philippa of Hainaidt, 221 

his goods and chattels, and with any dyers who may be will- 
ing to accompany him beyond the seas, and exercise their 
mysteries in the kingdom of England, they shall have letters 
of protection and assistance in their settlement." 

[A.D. 1335.] He came, and was the patriarch of the 
Norwich woollen manufactories. Philippa often visited the 
colony, which soon brought considerable wealth into the 
country, encouraging the work by her patronage, and, like 
a beneficent queen of the hive cherishing and protecting 
the working bees, she made a law that no woollen clothes 
should be worn except those made in England. Besides 
the occupation which she thus provided for hundreds of her 
subjects, this young queen displayed unusual foresight for 
a woman of her age in the tournament exhibitions she held 
at Norwich, by which she gave the citizens assurance of 
gallant protection on the part of the nobility in case of 
need. These festivities brought together the workers and 
the defenders of the nation, and Queen Philippa set them 
the example of mutual respect. Edward III. did not often 
accompany his wife on her visits to Norwich, but usually 
passed the time of her absence with his unhappy mother 
at Castle Rising. 

In 1333 Edward again commenced a furious war on Scot- 
land. His faithful Philippa went with him as far as she 
could, and while he laid siege to Berwick took up her resi- 
dence at Bamborough Castle. It was during this siege 
that the king committed a deed so atrocious that it must 
forever be a dark stain upon his character. Douglas, the 
defender of Scotland, left King Edward before Berwick 
and made a forced march to the castle that contained Queen 
Philippa, hoping to frighten the king and to force him to 
fly to her assistance. But he was mistaken, for Edward 
had too much confidence in the strength of the castle and 
the firmness of his wife to budge. It is probable tliough 

222 The Queens of England. 

that this attempt to capture Philippa aggravated his fero- 
cious temper and prompted him to the cruel deed to which 
we have referred. The two young Seatons, sons of the 
Governor of Berwick, had been taken as prisoners, and the 
king had them put to death because the father refused to 
surrender the town. His object was to take Berwick by a 
desperate blow and fly to the relief of his queen, and he 
succeeded, for the poor grief-stricken father of the Seatons 
was so perfectly stunned by the infamous murder of his 
boys, that he could offer no further resistance. Douglas 
and Edward fought not far from Berwick, where the former 
was killed and the king entered the town in triumph with 
Philippa at his side. 

During the queen's residence in the north of England 
quite an amusing circumstance occurred. King Edward 
had returned from Scotland, and his wife, who had been 
separated from him for a long time, went as far as Dur- 
ham to welcome him back. He lodged at St. Cuthbert's 
Priory near the castle. After supper the queen entered 
her husband's apartments, where, feeling fatigued from her 
journey, she hoped to have a good night's rest. Scarcely 
had she undressed than there came a loud knocking at her 
door. Upon opening it several monks presented themselves 
with a pathetic appeal to her not to offend their holy pa- 
tron St. Cuthbert, who during his life avoided the fair sex 
and would be dreadfully angry if one of them, no matter 
how high her rank, should sleep beneath the roof of his 
convent. The pious Philippa was distressed at the idea 
of having unintentionally displeased the saint, and fled in 
her night-clothes to the castle, which was fortunately not far 

[A.D. 1336.] About this time Count William of Hai- 
nault died of gout, and Edward thus lost the liberal supplies 
that he had always counted on from that source. The Eng- 

1336- Philippa of Hainault. 223 

lish people of that period chose always to be at war ; but 
expected their monarchs to pay the costs. Edward was 
reduced to such extreme poverty that he was forced to pledge 
his wife's crown for twenty-five hundred pounds, at the 
beginning of his long war, and during his whole reign the 
crown jewels were seldom out of pawn. He had been 
engaged in a naval battle with France since his victories in 
Scotland, and in 1340 found himself bankrupt. By that 
time Philippa had several children, and was residing in the 
Tower, where she devoted herself to their education with 
her usual good sense. 

Now we must see how Edward was led to establish the 
Order of the Garter. Wark Castle was under the guardian- 
ship of the Earl of Salisbury, who, while King Edward was 
encamped near Berwick, was taken prisoner. The Countess 
of Salisbury was then left alone at the castle with her young 
nephew, and it was besieged by the King of Scotland. 
Becoming alarmed at the approach of danger she sent the 
youth to seek assistance of Edward who immediately replied 
in person. At his appearance the siege was raised, and the 
countess, to prove her gratitude, ordered the gates to be 
thrown open, and received the king with great honors. She 
courtesied low, thanked her preserver warmly for his prompt 
aid, and conducted him into the castle, where he and all 
his knights and attendants were entertained sumptuously. 
Everybody was struck with the countess' noble deportment 
and affable behavior, and the king was charmed with her 
grace and beauty. 

While he was dancing with her after the banquet she gave 
in his honor she unfortunately dropped her garter, and was 
overcome with confusion, but Edward with his usual 
gallantry picked it up and, holding it aloft, said : " Honi 
soit qui fnal y pense,''^ "evil to him who evil thinks." In 
commemoration of this event, and out of compliment to the 

224 ^^^ Queens of England. 

countess, he established an order called the Knights of the 
Garter. The queen attended the first meeting of this order 
at Windsor, on which. occasion all the knights were accom- 
panied by their ladies, who wore the badge with the motto 
the king had proposed as a bracelet on their left arm. The 
object of this order of knighthood was to assist distre::sed 
ladies, and after it was well established the king announced 
his intention of going to the aid of the Countess de 
Montfort, who was trying to uphold the cause of her infant 
son against the whole power of France, while her husband 
was a prisoner in the tower of the Louvre. He appointed 
Philippa regent, with the Earl of Kent as her assistant, and 
departed for France with his son Edward, then only sixteen 
years of age. At the battle of Cressy, which had occurred 
during the siege of Calais, this boy proved himself a true 

During the king's absence, David of Scotland advanced 
into England and set fire to the suburbs of York. Philippa 
hastened in person to the relief of her northern subjects, 
and took up her residence at Newcastle. On the following 
day the King of Scots, with forty thousand men, halted 
within three miles of the town, and sent word to the 
queen that if her men were willing he would wait and give 
them battle. She replied : " that her barons would risk 
their lives for the realm of their lord, the king." 

When her army drew up in order of battle she rode 
among them mounted on her white charger, entreating the 
men " to fight manfully for the love of God." They 
promised to do the utmost in their power, and the queen 
withdrew after commending them "to the protection of 
Grod and St. George." 

Philippa had the moral courage becoming in a woman, 
and as soon as she had done all that a great queen could 
do for the encouragement of her army, she left the battle- 

1336- Philippa of Hainault. 225 

field, which was no place for her, and retired to pray foi 
her invaded kingdom. 

Her army gained the victory, and King David was 
taken prisoner by a squire named John Copeland, who rode 
off with him and refused to give him up. This displeased 
Philippa, who the next day wrote to the squire commanding 
him to surrender the King of Scots to her forthwith. He 
replied, " that he would not give up his royal prisoner to 
a woman but only to his own lord. King Edward, for to him 
he had sworn allegiance and not to any woman." 

The queen was troubled at this obstinacy, and wrote all 
about it to the king, who ordered John Copeland to come 
to him at Calais immediately. When Edward saw the 
squire he took him by the hand, saying : " Ha ! welcome 
my squire, who by thy valor hast captured mine adversary, 
the King of Scots." 

John Copeland fell on one knee and replied: "If God 
out of his great goodness has given me the King of Scotland, 
and permitted me to conquer him in arms, no one ought 
to be jealous of it, for God can, if He please, send His 
grace to a poor squire as well as to a great lord. Sire, do 
not take it amiss if I did not surrender King David to the 
orders of my lady queen, for I hold my lands of you and 
not of her, and my oath is to you and not her, unless indeed 
through choice." 

The king thanked him warmly for his valor, and ordered 
him to go home and hand his prisoner, the King of Scotland, 
over to Philippa, adding, " and I assign lands as near your 
house as you can choose them to the amount of five 
hundred pounds a year for you and your heirs." The squire 
obeyed, and the excuses he made were so acceptable to the 
queen that she bore him no ill-will. She ordered King 
David to be conducted in grand procession through the 
streets mounted on a tall black war-horse, so that every one 

226 The Queens of Engla7td. 

might know him and recognize him in case he attempted to 
escape, and then to be locked up in the Tower of London. 
Next day, accompanied by a large number of her ladies, she 
sailed for Calais, where Edward gave a magnificent fite to 
welcome his victorious queen. 

Meantime the defenders of Calais were so much reduced 
by famine that they offered to surrender. At first Edward 
resolved to kill them every one, but in compliance with the 
request of Sir Walter Mauny, one of the Knights of the Gar- 
ter, who begged him to be merciful, he softened somewhat, 
and sent this message : " Tell the Governor of Calais that 
the garrison and inhabitants shall be pardoned excepting six 
of the principal citizens, who must surrender themselves to 
death with ropes round their necks, bareheaded and bare- 
footed, bringing the keys of the town and castle in their 

Sir Walter carried the cruel verdict to the governor. 
He wept bitterly ; he was compelled, however, to break the 
dreadful news to the inhabitants, who at the loud peals of 
the alarm-bell assembled in the town-hall. When they 
heard the king's message, they broke into loud lamentations 
of grief and despair. The hardest heart could not have 
failed to be touched by such a scene. Men stared at each 
other, scarcely knowing what to say or do. After a pause, 
Eustace St. Pierre, the most wealthy citizen of Calais, arose 
and offered himself as one of the six to make the horrible 
sacrifice for his fellow-townsmen. Five others followed 
this noble example amid the blessings and thanks of the 
assembly, and the number was completed. Mounted on a 
horse, the governor slowly and solemnly conducted them 
to the barriers, where Sir Walter Mauny awaited them, and 
said : " I deliver up to you, as Governor of Calais, these six 
citizens, and swear to you they are the most wealthy and 
respectable men of the town. I beg of you, gentle sir, that 


134^' Philippa of Hainatdt. 229 

you would beseech the king that they may not be put to 

" I cannot answer what the king will do with them," 
replied Sir Walter ; " but you may depend upon this, that 
I will do all I can to save them." 

All the English nobles wept at the sight of these six gen- 
tlemen as they knelt before the king and begged for com- 
passion, but Edward eyed them angrily and ordered their 
heads to be struck off forthwith. Some of the knights 
entreated the king to be more merciful, but he would not 
listen to them, and sternly repeated his order. 

At that moment Philippa appeared. Falling on her knees 
at her husband's feet, she looked up into his face with tears -» 
in her eyes, and said : " Ah, gentle sir, since I crossed 
the sea with great peril to see you I have never asked you 
one favor ; now I most humbly ask as a gift, for the sake 
of the son of the blessed Mary, and as a proof of your love 
to me, the lives of these six men." 

King Edward looked at her for some time in silence, then 
replied : " Ah, lady, I wish you had been anywhere else 
than here ; you have entreated in such a manner I cannot 
refuse you. I therefore give them to you — do as you please 
with them." 

Philippa then conducted the poor men to her own apart- 
ments, where their halters were removed from their necks 
and they were served with an excellent dinner. Afterwards 
she saw that they were conducted out of the camp in 
safety. The king entered Calais and took possession of 
the castle, where proper lodgings had been prepared for him- 
self and his queen. 

[A.D. 1348.] After their return to England, in 1348, an 
awful epidemic, called the " black death," visited the king- 
dom and carried off the king and queen's second daughter, 
Johanna, a princess only fifteen years old, but blessed with 

230 The Queens of England. 

so many charms that a number of minstrels had chosen her 
for the subject of their verses. What made the event more 
than ordinarily sad was, that she was engaged to be married, 
and her funeral procession occurred at the ver}- time that 
had been fixed for the wedding ceremony. This was a 
great sorrow to the royal couple. So dreadful was the pes- 
tilence that every household in London was afflicted by it, 
and in some families all the members died. 

Before this horrible visitation Philippa had turned her 
attention to the working of the coal mines in England, which, 
like the cloth manufacture, proved an industry of immense 
profit to the nation, besides enriching many private individ- 
uals. Wherever this great queen turned her patronage, 
prosperity was sure to follow, and her subjects loved and 
trusted her. 

[A.D. 1357.] In 1357 the English gained a grand vic- 
tory at Poictiers, and the Black Prince returned with many 
prisoners. Among them was one Bertrand Du Guesclin. 
One day when Queen Philippa was entertaining at her 
court a number of the noble French prisoners, the Prince 
of Wales proposed that Du Guesclin should name his own 
ransom, adding that whatever sum he mentioned should set 
him free. The warrior named a hundred thousand crowns. 
The Prince of Wales was astonished at such a sum, and 
asked how he could raise it. " I know a hundred knights," 
replied Du Guesclin, " in my native Bretagne, who would 
mortgage their last acre rather than have me languish in 
captivity or be rated below my value. Yea, and there is 
not a woman in France now toiling with her distaff who 
would not devote a year's earnings to liberate me, for well 
have I deserved of their sex. And if all the fair spinners 
of France employ their hands to redeem me, think you, 
prince, that I shall abide much longer with you ? " 

Queen Philippa, who had listened to this conversation 


1369- Philippa of Hainault. 233 

with great attention, now spoke : " I name," she said, " fifty 
thousand crowns, my son, as my contribution towards your 
gallant prisoner's ransom ; for though an enemy to my hus- 
band, a knight who is famed for the courteous protection 
he has afforded to my sex deserves the assistance of every 
woman." Du Guesclin threw himself at the feet of the 
generous queen, saying : " Ah, lady, being the ugliest knight 
in France, I never reckoned on any goodness from your sex 
excepting those whom I protected with my sword, but your 
bounty will make me think less despicably of myself." 
Philippa, like all great women, honored those men who paid 
most reverence to her own sex. 

After a lingering illness, she sent for the king one day 
when she knew that death was approaching. Taking his 
hand in her own, she asked him to grant her three requests. 
He promised in advance with tears rolling down his cheeks. 
" My lord," she said, " I beg you will fulfil whatever engage- 
ments I have made with the merchants for their wares, as 
well on this as on the other side of the sea ; I beseech you 
to fulfil whatever gifts or legacies I have made or left to 
churches and to all my servants, whether male or female ; 
and when it shall please God to call upon you hence, you 
will choose no other sepulchre than mine, and that you will 
lie by my side in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey." 
The king replied : " Lady, all this shall be done." 

[A.D. 1369.] Shortly after she died, and with her life 
departed the happiness, good fortune and even respectability 
of Edward HI. and his family. Where Philippa had once 
promoted virtue, justice and wisdom, scenes of folly, strife 
and sorrow now followed at court. One of the chroniclers 
of the time says : " I firmly believe that her spirit was 
caught by holy angels and carried to the glory of Heaven, 
for she had never done anything by thought or deed to 
endanger her soul." 


QUEEN OF RICHARD II. (A.D. 1367-1394.) 

The marriage of King Richard II. with Anne of Bohemia 
gave general satisfaction in England, and proved a happy 
cna in every respect. At the coronation, which followed a 
few days after, the young bride received the title of " the 
good Queen Anne." It pained her to see the distress of 
the unhappy peasantry caused by the bloodshed and bar- 
barous executions that had been the result of Wat Tyler's 
insurrection. She compared their miserable lot with her 
own bright and joyous one, and was thus prompted to ask 
a great favor of the king. Having first convinced herself 
that she would not be refused, she demanded a general 
pardon for all malefactors. Her mediation came in time 
to save the life of many an unfortunate creature, and sent 
a thrill of happiness through scores of afflicted households. 
No wonder then that she was called "good Queen Anne," 
but what was better still, she never forfeited the title. 

Queen Anne was not a beauty, but at the age of sixteen, 
when she became King Richard's wife, she was a blooming, 
healthy girl, with a clear, fresh complexion and bright eyes. 
She had a high, narrow forehead, long upper lip and fat 
cheeks, but the remarkable head-dress she wore neutralized 
these defects somewhat. It was a cap two feet high and 
equally wide, scooped out at the top so as to leave two 
high points resembling horns. This structure was made 
of wire and pasteboard, covered with a silky gauze. Though 

1384- Anne of Bohemia. 237 

hideously ugly and excessively uncomfortable, it was 
universally adopted by the English ladies in compliment to 
the queen, whose taste must have been somewhat defective 
if she was responsible for the device or crest she used, and 
required all her knights to wear at tournaments. It 
consisted of an ostrich, that most ungraceful of birds, 
with a bit of iron in his mouth. But Queen Anne intro- 
duced two articles into England that were no doubt grate- 
fully received ; one was the ordinary pin which we of the 
present day consider indispensable ; the other was the 
side-saddle, not such as we are accustomed to, but a bench 
with a step suspended on which the rider's two feet were 
placed. This mode of riding may have been comfortable, 
but the horse had to be led by a groom because it was 
impossible for a lady to handle the reins herself. 

[A.D. 1384.] At a festival of the Order of the Garter, 
in 1384, Queen Anne wore a robe of violet cloth lined with 
fur, with a hood of the same material faced with red. All 
her ladies were similarly attired. The king, who was quite 
a dandy, wore on that occasion, a coat embroidered in 
precious stones that cost thirty thousand marks. In this 
reign the shoes had long-pointed toes of an absurd length 
fastened to the knees with gold or silver chains, that must 
have been quite an annoyance to the wearer. But Richard 
II. was very luxurious in his tastes and so fond of spending 
money, that extravagant costumes were invented to please 
him, regardless of taste or convenience. 

Anne of Bohemia did not spend all her time in frivolous 
amusements, for she read the Scriptures in her native 
tongue, and may be considered one of the mothers of the 
Reformation. It is possible that she may have been 
influenced by her mother-in-law, Joanna, the Princess of 
Wales, whom she loved very much, but certain it is that when 
John Wickliffe was in danger of his life, at the council of 

238 The Queens of Englajid. 

Lambeth, in 1382, both these royal ladies implored King 
Richard to aid in saving that reformer's life. 

A war in Scotland called the king from home when he 
had been married a little over a year, and while he was 
away, his half-brother, John Holland, murdered Lord 
Stafford. The cause of this dreadful crime was jealousy. 
Stafford was a soldier of such high and noble character 
that he was a great favorite with the whole English army, and 
so chivalrous that the queen called him " her knight." It 
was when on his way with messages from the king to Anne 
that the encounter, which resulted in the death of the 
honored earl, took place. John Holland had noticed him, 
for many months, with increasing envy, which led him, at 
last, to slay one who had not given the slightest provocation 
for a quarrel. The father of Stafford was so distressed at 
the atrocious murder of his dearly-beloved son, that King 
Richard, prompted by the old man's demand for justice, 
vowed his brother's life should pay the forfeit of his deed. 
Meanwhile Holland had fled to the shrine of St. John of 
Beverly, and kept out of the way until the king returned 
from Scotland. Then Joanna, Princess of Wales, mother 
of Richard and John Holland, pleaded, with tears and 
lamentations, to one son for the life of another. Before 
it was granted, she died, and the king, unable to refuse her 
last request, pardoned the criminal, who started, at once, 
on an atoning pilgrimage to Syria. 

The queen was called upon to act as mediator again in 
1387, after the defeat of the royal troops by the Duke of 
Gloucester and young Henry of Bolingbroke. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury was then sent to the king to propose 
a treaty of peace, but was absolutely refused admittance to 
his majesty's presence until the queen persuaded her 
husband to yield. After the interview the royal household 
removed from Bristol, where it had been established for 
several months, to London. 


Anne of Bohemia. 


Parliament opened immediately, and the Duke of Glou- 
cester, with his adherents, established a reign of terror that 
made fidelity to the king and queen an offence. Several 
members of Queen Anne's household were selected as vic- 
tims, principally because they favored the cause of the Ref- 
ormation and read the works of Wickliffe and Lollard. 
The queen spared no pains in trying to save her friends, 


and actually went on her knees to plead for the life of Johi» 
Calverly, one of her esquires, but to no avail. That par- 
liament was called " the merciless," and merited the title. 

The succeeding two years were passed by the royal couple 
at Shene, a favorite summer residence because of the beaut) 
of the surrounding landscape. 

[A.D. 1389.] At the meeting of parUament in 1389 Rich- 

240 The Queens of England. 

ard asked them, " how old he was." " Twenty-two," was 
the reply, whereupon he declared that his ancestors had 
been considered of age much earlier, and it w as therefore 
his intention to submit to control no longer. A sort of re- 
coronation then took place at St. Stephen's Chapel, when the 
nobility renewed their oaths to the young sovereign, who 
thenceforth governed the kingdom himself. 

A splendid tournament was held in honor of this event, 
over which Queen Anne presided. Sixty of her ladies, 
mounted on fine horses, each led by a knight, rode, to the 
sound of the trumpets, and attended by a train of minstrels, 
through the streets of London. When they arrived at the 
tilting-grounds at Smithfield, they passed before the queen, 
who was already seated on a richly decorated stand, then 
placed themselves on either side of her. The prizes con- 
sisted of a richly jewelled clasp and a gold crown, which 
the queen presented to the victors with her own hands. 
At the close of the match, a fine banquet was served, suc- 
ceeded by dancing, which was kept up until a late hour in 
the night. 

[A.D. 1392.] In 1392 King Richard applied to the cit- 
izens of London for a loan of a thousand pounds. It was 
refused, but a wealthy Italian came forward and offered 
the whole of the sum, whereupon a mob set upon the unfor- 
tunate money-lender and tore him to pieces. Such a for- 
midable riot was the result of this outrage that Richard 
took away the city charter and removed the law courts to 
York. This was a dilemma that had not been counted on, 
and occasioned so much distress and disturbance that 
Queen Anne was again called upon to act as mediator. 
This time she merely persuaded her husband to make a pub- 
lic passage through London with her, trusting to the citizens 
to do their part, which she would follow up with her request 
at the proper moment. 

1392- Anne of Bohemia. 241 

, The king, with his escort, appeared first in the procession, 
then followed the queen and her ladies. She wore her 
crown, a robe of rich velvet, and a large collar of precious 
stones that blazed in the sunlight as she moved along. The 
procession halted at Southwark bridge, where it was wel- 
comed by the lord-mayor and other authorities, followed by 
representatives of every branch of trade carrying various 
devices. There the king was presented with a pair of snow- 
white horses, covered with trappings of gold cloth to which 
silver bells were attached. The queen received a beautiful 
white palfrey, and after listening to a long speech by the 
lord mayor, the procession moved on. All the streets 
through which they passed were hung with flags, banners 
and rich tapestry, the public fountains flowed with wine. 
At different points bands of music and singers were stationed, 
the latter strewing the path with fresh flowers as the royal 
couple approached. Some rare and valuable gifts were 
presented, among which was a tablet set in jewels with the 
crucifixion engraved thereon. The king took it in his 
hand and said : " Peace be to this city ! " Another was 
handed to the queen bearing a request that she would not 
fail to plead for the king's pardon. She cast her eyes over 
it and said, with a confident air, " leave all to me." 

On arriving at Westminster Palace, the king entered first, 
and proceeding to the great hall, mounted the throne, sceptre 
in hand, and awaited the arrival of the queen and the rest 
of the procession. After all had assembled, her majesty 
knelt at the feet of her royal spouse and in a firm, clear 
voice made an humble and loving appeal that the charters 
and liberties of his penitent subjects might be restored. 

" Be satisfied, dearest wife," answered Richard, taking 
her hand and raising her from her lowly position, " loth 
should we be to deny thee any reasonable request. Mean- 
time ascend, and sit beside me on my throne, while I speak 
a few words to my people." 


The Queens of England. 

His majesty then addressed the lord-mayor, thanked him 
for the exhibition of loyalty that had been made that day, as 
well as for the costly presents made to himself and his wife, 
bade him keep the peace of the city, and handed him back 
the key and sword of his office. This reconciliation cost 
the city ten times as much as the loan their sovereign had 
required. King Richard was preparing for a campaign in 
Ireland in the June of 1394 when his beloved wife was taken 
from him. She died at Shene, and in the bitterness of his 
grief, unable to bear the sight of the palace in which he had 
spent so many happy hours with his late companion, Rich- 
ard had it destroyed. 

The body of Anne of Bohemia was carried in grand pro- 
cession to London and buried at Westminster. 

King Richard went to Ireland shortly after, and fre- 
quently in the council-chamber of Dublin when anything 
recalled his "good Queen Anne " to his thoughts he sud- 
denly would burst into tears and leave the room. 



It seems strange that when Richard II. reached the age 
of thirty he should have had a fancy to share his throne 
with a child of nine, yet that was the age of Isabella of 
Valois when he married her. 

She was the eldest daughter of Charles VI. of France 
and the wicked Isabeau of Bavaria ; but fortunately she 
inherited nothing from her mother but her beautiful dark 
eyes and clear olive complexion ; her goodness and lovely 
character she got from her father. 

When Richard was told that Isabella was too young for 
him, he replied : " that every day would remedy the defi- 
ciency of age, and her youth was one of his reasons for 
preferring her, because he should educate her to his own 
mind, to the manners and customs of the English ; and 
thit, as for himself, he was young enough to wait for her." 

[A.D. 1396.] When the English ambassadors waited on 
Isabella to solicit her hand for Richard, one of them 
dropped upon his knees and said : " Madam, if it please 
God, you shall be our lady and queen." Without any 
prompting, the little maid replied ; " Sir, if it please God 
and my lord and father that I be Queen of England, I 
shall be pleased thereat, for I have been told I shall then 
be a great lady." 

Her appearance and manners were very pleasing, and 


244 ^^^ Queens of England. 

from the time when it was proposed that she should marry 
Richard, she began to practise how to behave as queen, 
though she could not prepare herself for the sad experience 
that awaited her in that exalted position. 

King Richard went to Paris, attended by a retinue of 
the first noblemen of his realm, to claim his little wife. At 
a magnificent dinner given by the King of France, the last 
of a series of entertainments that had been held in honor 
of his royal guest, Isabella was presented to her future 
lord. Then, attended by her parents and the whole court, 
she was conveyed in a rich litter to Calais, where the 
marriage ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury. " The little queen," as Isabella was called 
from that time, made a public entry into London a few 
days later, when many rich and beautiful gifts were pre- 
sented to her. 

The bride's marriage portion consisted of 800,000 francs 
in gold. Her trousseau was magnificent; among the 
gannents was a robe and mantle such as had never been 
seen in England for costliness. It was composed of 
crimson velvet, embossed with solid gold birds, perched on 
branches of real pearls and emeralds. Down each side was 
a border of miniver, there was a cape and hood of the same 
fur, and the mantle was lined throughout with ermine. 
Another robe was light blue velvet, embroidered with pearl 
roses ; the little lady had besides coronets, rings, necklaces, 
and buckles worth a large sum of money and beautiful 
enough to delight the heart of any girl. Her bedroom 
curtains were of red and white satin with embroidered 
figures. Isabella was crowned at Westminster in 1397, 
when she was just ten years old ; then she went to reside 
at Windsor, where her education was continued under the 
guidance of Lady de Courcy. 

King Richard made frequent visits to his little wife, each 


1396- Isabella of Valois. 247 

one being the occasion of a holiday from study, and of a 
great deal of pleasure to the child who anticipated the 
appearance of her lord with no little impatience. Richard 
was always courteous and gentle in his manners towards 
ladies, and had a lively disposition, which rendered him a 
very congenial companion ; besides, he dressed with such 
exquisite taste that the admiration he inspired in the heart 
of Isabella warmed into an affection that she never ceased 
to entertain for him as long as he lived. 

When King Richard went to France to claim his bride, 
he spent so much money that he found himself deeply 
involved in debt. This led to a fierce struggle with the 
party headed by his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, and the 
Earl of Arundel. At last Richard would bear it no longer, 
so he managed to rid himself of both his opponents. This 
he did by having the duke treacherously murdered, and the 
earl illegally executed. 

But Richard was not accustomed to such cruel deeds, 
and hjs conscience troubled him to such a degree that he 
would often start up from his bed at night and cry out in 
horror : " That his bed was covered with the blood of the 
earl." The sudden death of Roger Mortimer, lord deputy 
of Ireland, to whom Richard was warmly attached, called 
him to that country to quell the rebellion that ensued. 

Before his departure he went to Windsor to bid farewell 
to Isabella ; while there he dismissed Lady de Courcy on 
account of excessive extravagahce, and appointed his wid- 
owed niece. Lady Mortimer, in her stead, as governess and 
first lady of honor to his young consort. 

The parting scene between the royal couple was very 
touching, the king lifting his wife up in his arms and kiss- 
ing her repeatedly while offering words of hope and com- 

Henry of Bolingbroke, who had been absent from Eng- 

248 The Queens of EtiglaTid. 

land for several years, returned while Richard was away, — 
a most unfortunate circumstance for the royal cause. The 
Duke of York, who acted as regent in the king's absence, 
was alive to the little queen's position, and hurried her off 
to the fortress of Wallingford. 

Attended by sixty thousand fighting men, Henry of 
Bolingbroke marched through England and presented him- 
self before the very gates of Flint Castle, where Richard, 
with a handful of faithful knights, had fortified himself. 
Upon Henry's boldly demanding admittance the king agreed 
to allow him, with eleven others, to pass the wicket of the 
castle. But it was soon evident that any such precaution 
was unnecessary, for on looking out of the window the king 
beheld the army that had come to besiege him, and surren- 
dered himself at once. 

While King Richard and Henry of Bolingbroke stood in 
the courtyard of the castle waiting for their horses. Math, 
the beautiful greyhound that always accompanied the king 
when he rode out, and would never follow nor notice any- 
one else, suddenly dashed through the court, leaped upon 
Henry, and put both paws on his shoulders, as he had been 
wont to do to the king. Henry asked the meaning of his 
being thus selected for the animal's caresses. " Cousin," 
replied the king sadly, " it means a great deal for you, and 
very little for me ; for the natural instinct of my favorite 
dog prompts him to fondle and pay his court to you as King 
of England, which you will be, and I shall be deposed." 

Richard was taken to London and lodged in the Tower, 
where he suffered torment because he could get no infor- 
mation as to the fate of his Isabella. After a time he offered 
to resign his crown to Henry of Bolingbroke, now called 
the Duke of Lancaster, but received only taunts and 
reproaches in reply. Meanwhile " the little queen " had 
been removed from Wallingford to Leeds Castle in Kent. 

139^. Isabella of Valois. 249 

At the next session of parliament, the members remained 
seated at Westminster Hall, while Henry, with a number 
of priests, dukes, and earls rode to the Tower, dismounted 
in the courtyard and entered the Hall, Then King Rich- 
ard, on being summoned, walked in with his crown upon 
his head and the sceptre in his hand, and addressed the 
assembly as follows : " I have reigned King of England, 
Duke of Aquitaine, and Lord of Ireland about twenty-two 
years; which royalty, lordship, sceptre, and crown, I now 
freely and willingly resign to my cousin, Henry of Lancas- 
ter, and entreat of him in the presence of you all to accept 
this sceptre." The king was then conducted back to his 
apartments in the Tower, and the crown and sceptre were 
safely locked away in the treasury of Westminister Abbey. 

The following October, Henry of Lancaster assembled 
parliament, and was crowned with great ceremony as Henry 
IV. Isabella had been removed to Sunning Hill, where 
she was treated as a state prisoner, and kept in ignorance 
of the fate of her husband. 

Shortly after the coronation of Henry IV. a plot against 
his life was discovered, and then the fate of poor Richard 
was sealed, as we shall see. 

Henry's attendants kept constantly reminding him, by 
hints and insinuations, that as long as Richard lived he 
could not reign peaceably, until worn out with care and 
anxiety he wearily asked one day while sitting at table : 
" Have I no faithful friend who will deliver me of one whose 
life will be my death, and whose death my life ? " After 
such a speech from the king it was not likely that Richard's 
life would long be spared. His attendants began to treat 
him with so little ceremony at last that the royal prisoner 
remarked upon it one day when he was dining ; whereupon 
he was informed that King Henr)' had given new orders. 

"The devil take Henry of Lancaster and thee together ! " 

250 The Queens of England. 

exclaimed Richard in a passion, striking the attendant who 
had answered with a carving-knife. At that instant eight 
armed men rushed into the room ; Richard started up, seized 
the weapon that the one nearest to him ^eld, and defended 
himself so valiantly that four of the attacking party were 
slain outright. Then while he was fiercely warding off the 
blows of three others, the leader of the band jumped upon 
the chair Richard had occupied while dining, and dealt him 
a blow on the back of his head that killed him instantly. 

[A.D. 1339.] Thus fell the son of the Black Prince at 
the early age of thirty-two, and Queen Isabella was made 
a widow before she was thirteen. 

The King of France was suffering from an attack of 
insanity, therefore could take no steps for the restoration of 
his daughter, but the French council requested Henry IV. 
to allow her to return to her native land. ' He refused, 
saying " that she should reside in England, as all other 
queen-dowagers had done, in great honor ; and that if she 
had unluckily lost a husband she should be provided with 
another who would be young, handsome, and in every way 
deserving of her love, that person being no other than the 
Prince of Wales." But Isabella mourned her murdered 
spouse so sincerely that she rejected the gallant Henry of 
Monmouth and no longer felt any pride in being Queen of 

When Charles VI. recovered, he sent ambassadors to 
inquire into the condition of his daughter in England, and 
to make arrangements for her return. But it was not until 
late in July, eighteen months after the death of Richard II. 
that his widow was restored to her parents. Henry had 
seized her jewels and dower, and refused to give them up. 

[A.D. 1402.] The goodness and amiable disposition of 
the youthful queen had won the affection of her English 
ladies, and when she parted from them they wept so much 

i4ia Isabella of Valois. 253 

that she was obliged to comfort them, though she, too, was 
in tears. 

In 1406 Henry IV. again proposed for the hand of Isa- 
bella for the Prince of Wales, declaring that if the marriage 
could be brought about he would abdicate the English crown 
in favor of his son. But the little queen had meanwhile 
promised to marry her cousin, Charles of Angouleme, son 
of the Duke of Orleans. An unfavorable answer was there- 
fore given to the English ambassadors, who were very much 
displeased at their failure. 

Isabella was not n\jjrried to her cousin until the murder 
of his father by the Duke of Burgundy made him Duke of 

[A.D. 1 410.] She loved him dearly, and lived happily 
with him for nearly two years, but she was only a little more 
than twenty- one when her death occurred. This Duke of 
Orleans was a celebrated poet, whose compositions are still 
read in France. We quote one written shortly after his sad 
bereavement, but it is much prettier in the original 

French : — 

Death, who made thee so bold, 
To take from me my lovely princess ? 
Who was my comfort, my life, 
My good, my pleasure, my riches. 
Alas ! I am lonely, bereft of my mate 
Adieu, my lady, my lily ! 
Our loves are forever severed." 


(A.D. 1370-14370 ' 

It was to the Duke of Bretagne, Joanna of Navarre's first 
husband, that Henry IV. was pai^y indebted for his 
elevation to the throne of England. Henry was an exile 
when Richard II. was obliged to go to Ireland, and finding 
that a clear field was thus left for his return, he applied to 
the Duke of Bretagne for advice and assistance, and was 
unhesitatingly provided by him with vessels, soldiers, and 
arms. The use he made of them is recounted in the last 

Joanna, the duke's wife, met Henry of Bolingbroke, the 
first time when he was making his preparations for this 
expedition to England, and was very much pleased with 
his beauty and attractive manners. 

[A.D. 1 40 1.] When she had been a widow for two 
years, and Henrj^ was established on the throne, she 
willingly accepted an offer of his hand in marriage. He 
had then been a widower since 1394, when Anne of 
Bohemia, his first wife, died. 

Joanna of Navarre agreed to marry Henry IV., but she 
had a family of children, and before going to England she 
had to provide for them. She knew that it would be 
unwise to take her sons with her, and as the eldest had 
succeeded to his father's title, the people of Bretagne would 
naturally object to his making England his home, so she 
entered into a treaty with her uncle, the Duke of Burgundy, 


1404. yoanna of Navarre. 257 

who faithfully swor^ to preserve the laws, liberties and 
privileges of the Bretons. Thereupon the little duke and 
his two brothers, Arthur and Jules, were placed under his 
care, and taken to Paris to live. 

[A.D. 1402.] The two daughters accompanied their 
mother to Winchester, where King Henry awaited her. 
The marriage was publicly solemnized at the church, of 
St Swithin, and afterwards there was a splendid feast. 
The citizens of London made costly preparations to receive 
the bride, whose coronation took place Feb. 26, 1403, 
nearly three weeks after her landing in England. 

Joanna was thirty-three years old at that time, but she 
was still handsome, majestic, and graceful ; she was, 
besides, a woman of excellent common sense, but exces- 
sively avaricious. Indeed, this besetting sin not only 
prompted her to make unjust demands on her subjects, and 
to accept unlawful bribes, but also prevented her from 
performing those deeds of charity that one reasonably 
expects from people in lofty positions. 

The festivities that succeeded the coronation were rudely 
interrupted by an attack of the Bretons on the merchant 
shipping along the coast of Cornwall. This made the 
queen distasteful to her new subjects at once, though as 
her own son, the Duke of Bretagne, was then entirely under 
the influence of the Duke of Burgundy, it was the French 
who were responsible for the attack. Then followed the 
Percy rebellion and the battle of Shrewsbury, where the 
king so nearly lost his life. 

[A.D. 1404'.] Joanna further increased her unpopularity 
by filling her palace with her former subjects, an error 
that many Queens of England had made before her. But 
in this instance it was soon rectified, for the House of 
Commons took the matter in hand and cleared the royal 
household of nearly all the Breton servants. As the king 

258 The Queens of Etiglaiid. 

was well aware that the voice of the people had secured 
for him his position, he dared not interfere. 


Three years after she had ascended the throne of England, 
Joanna was called upon to part with her daughters, because 
their brother, whose subjects they were, claimed them. 

1 419- Joanna of Navarre. 261 

He had a husband provided for each, and they were 
married soon after their return to France. 

[A.D. 1413.] The death of Henry IV., which occurred 
in 1 41 3, left Joanna again a widow. His interview with 
the Prince of Wales, during which he resigns his crown 
and offers most excellent advice, is correctly given in the 
fifth act of Shakespeare's Henry IV. 

When the new king, Henry V., ascended the throne, 
he treated his stepmother with every mark of attention 
and respect, so much so that when he started on his 
expedition against France she was appointed regent in his 

[A.D. 1 41 5.] The Duke of Bretagne took no part in this 
contest; but Queen Joanna's second son, Arthur, made 
the first attack on Henry's camp, at the head of two 
thousand French cavalry, near Agincourt. Jt was midnight 
on the eve of St. Crispin's day and a violent storm was 
raging when the assault was made. It resulted in victory 
for the English ; Arthur was wounded and taken prisoner. 

It was with an aching heart that Queen Joanna was 
called upon to receive the royal victor when all England 
rejoiced at his return ; for her son-in-law and her brother 
had both been killed at the battle of Agincourt, and her 
son, Arthur, was brought to her kingdom in chains. She 
had been separated from the boy for twelve years, and now 
she was only permitted to give him a fond embrace, and 
then see him consigned to the gloomy Tower. Although 
Henry continued for a time to treat the queen with con- 
sideration, he would listen to no proposition or entreaty of 
hers for Arthur's release, 

[A.D. 1419.] At last, on an accusation of witchcraft, 
preferred against Joanna by her confessor, who declared that 
she was planning with two sorcerers who were dealing with 
the powers of darkness for the destruction of the king, she 


The Queens of England. 

was committed to Pevensey Castle as a prisoner. Henry 
V. gave the queen no opportunity of justifying herself, but 
no attempt of hers on his life was ever proved. 

[A.D. 1422] Her money was all appropriated by King 
Henr}^-, and she did not regain her liberty until his death 
was at hand ; then his conscience smote him, and he did 
his utmost to make amends. 

Joanna lived many years to enjoy her restored liberty 
and kept her court chiefly at Havering Bower, surrounded 
by all the luxuries that wealth could procure. 

She died in 1437, and was buried at Canterbury 
Cathedral beside Henry IV. 



WIFE OF HENRY V. (A.D. 1401— 1437.) 

Charles VI., King of France, and his wife. Queen Isa- 
beau of Bavaria, had eight children, three sons and five 
daughters, of whom Katherine was the youngest. The boys 
became in turn Dauphins of France ; Isabella, the eldest of 
the family, was married to Richard II. when she was only 
eight years of age, and had an experience throughout her 
short life such as has never been recorded of so young a 
girl. But she proved herself a devoted wife, and bore her 
sufferings with true heroism. She died when Katherine was 
only nine years old. Two of the daughters of Charles VI. 
became duchesses, Marie entered a convent, and the two 
little ones, Michelle and Katherine, at the respective ages 
of three and five, we find shut up in the dismal Hotel de 
St. Paul with their brothers and their infirm father. 

Queen Isabeau was one of the most wicked women that 
ever lived, for she not only joined her brother-in-law, the 
Duke of Orleans, in stealing the revenues of the royal 
household, thus leaving her husband and children with no 
means of support, but she neglected them most criminally, 
and then, for a long time, deserted them. The poor king 
was insane, which fact in itself would have kept any true 
wife at his side, but his guilty, wretched consort deserved 
neither the title of wife nor mother, for she neglected her 
duty as both. Her daughters inherited her splendid, large, 
dark eyes, as well as her clear, brilliant complexion, but, 

264 The Queens of England, 

fortunately for themselves and others, none of her wicked- 

While at the Hotel de St. Paul these poor little children 
were almost starved to death, and as their mother had left 
them without a change of linen they ran about in filthy 
rags. Some of the inferior attendants of the palace had 
compassion enough to give them a little food, but the ser 
vants of the royal family were left without money, conse- 
quently they neither could nor would provide for the chil- 
dren. Their condition must have been pitiable, indeed, but 
God watched over them, and as by a miracle their father's 
reason suddenly returned to him one day. For a long while 
he had been totally unconscious of the misery that sur- 
rounded him. What must have been the agony of the good 
man when he beheld his own plight and that of his innocent, 
forsaken little ones? It makes one shudder at the thought. 
But it had a different effect on the cruel, infamous Isabeau ; 
for no sooner did she hear that her husband's reason was 
restored than she began to tremble for her own safety, as 
well she might. She therefore hurried away to Milan, and 
ordered her brother Louis, who was as bad as she, to bring 
the children to her. 

He obeyed, and not only carried off the five royal children 
but also those of the Duke of Burgundy. Their absence 
was soon discovered, and the duke sent a troop of armed 
men after them, who overtook them before they had got 
very far. After securing the children of both families the 
men turned respectfully to the Dauphin Louis, then only ten 
years old, and asked him " whither he would please to go." 
" I will return to my royal father," replied the boy. He 
was eagerly obeyed and carried back to Paris with his com- 

Later, Lsabeau got possession of the little Katherine, but 
her conduct became so infamous that she was imprisoned, 



Katherine of Valois. 


and the child was sent to a convent to be educated. We 
will leave her there for a while to tell something about 
Henry V., who became her husband. 

[A.D. 1387.] He was born in 1387, and was a very sickly 
infant, but he had a devoted mother, who took such good 
care of him that he soon grew strong. She gave him his 
first lessons in Latin, and he was afterwards blessed with an 


excellent education. At the age of ten he played the harp 
well, and was extremely fond of music. Later in life he 
performed on the organ and composed sacred airs. After 
his mother's death, Richard IL took possession of the boy, 
who then lived at the palace, until he was placed at Oxford 
to complete his studies. 

He was only sixteen years old when he fought at the bat 

268 The Queens of England. 

tie of Shrewsbury, where he proved himself a brave prince. 
He advanced too rashly on the enemy, and received a seri- 
ous wound in the face that left a scar to the end of his life. 
On being advised to retire that the point of the arrow might 
be taken out, " To what place ? " he asked, " who will remain 
fighting, if I, the prince, a king's son, retire for fear at 
the first taste of steel ? let my fellow-soldiers see that I bleed 
at the first onset ; for deeds, not words, are the duties of 
princes who should set the example of boldness." 

Henry V. was extremely poor while he was Prince of 
Wales ; but that did not prevent his enjoying himself, even 
though his dissipations, and recklessness forced him into 
company far beneath him in rank. He was at times so 
pushed for money that he would disguise himself as a high- 
wayman, and lie in wait for the collectors of the rents due 
the crown and rob them. Sometimes he got soundly beaten 
himself, but he always rewarded those officers who made 
the boldest fight. He knew how to appreciate faithfulness, 
even when it .told against himself. 

He performed some of the wildest pranks when he lived 
at a manor near Coventry. On one occasion he and some 
of his friends were arrested by the mayor of that town for 
raising a riot, and this was not the only time that he was 
locked up in jail. The young nobles found that they could 
have so much liberty and fun at " Prince Hal's " house 
that they preferred it to the king's court. This made 
Henry IV. quite jealous at times, but it did not prevent 
their flocking to the manor and enjoying their mad frolics. 
During one of these, a favorite servant of the prince was 
arrested and taken before Judge Gascoigne. No sooner 
did Henry hear of it than he rushed to the court of justice, 
where the servant stood awaiting his trial. Walking boldly 
up to the man he endeavored to remove his chains ; the 
judge interfered, whereupon the prince boxed his ears 

1387- Katherine of Valois. 269 

soundly. Such an outrage caused great indignation on the 
jiart of Gascoigne, who not only reproved the young man 
as he deserved, but actually had him locked up in the prison 
of the King's Bench, No doubt the prince regretted that 
he had allowed his temper to get the better of his common 
sense ; for, after he had taken time to reflect, he submitted 
with a good grace to his well-merited punishment. When 
Henry IV, heard of this occurrence, he said : " he was 
proud of having a son who would thus submit himself to 
the laws, and that he had a judge who could so fearlessly 
enforce them." 

For a long time the king had been trying to get a wife for 
his wild son, no doubt with the hope that marriage would 
improve his bad behavior. Several ladies had been pro- 
posed, but in each case something happened to prevent an 
engagement. At last both father and son seemed deter- 
mined on obtaining the fair Katherine for the lofty station 
of Princess of Wales. The Duke of York was sent on a 
private mission to demand her hand in marriage for Prince 
Henry, and while he was absent the king died. 

A short but fierce civil war had to be fought before Henry 
V. could take possession of the throne, because somebody 
raised a report that Richard H., who would have succeeded, 
was still alive. In order to restore peace, Henry was 
obliged to have Richard's corpse paraded through the 
streets. It was carried in a chair of state adorned with regal 
ornaments, Henry walking by its side, and all the court fol- 
lowing. After a solemn ceremony it was safely laid away 
in Westminster Abbey, and tranquillity returned. 

Then the new king made another application for the hand 
of Princess Katherine, at the same time demanding the 
enormous dowry of two millions of crowns and all the 
southern provinces of France. 

Charles VI. tried to compromise, and offered 450,000 

270 The Queens of England. 

crowns. This the English lover refused with disdain. In 
fact, he wanted an excuse for invading France, so resolved 
to fight for Katherine the Fair, and to win her, as well as 
the gold and the provinces he had demanded, at the point 
of the sword. In order to raise money for this expedition 
he had to sell or pawn all the valuables he owned, but his 
ambition was aroused and he never doubted that "the 
game was worth the candle." 

From Southampton Henry V. sent a letter to the King 
of France warning him of his intended invasion, and 
adding that if the southern provinces and the hand of 
Katherine were not bestowed on him at once he would 
take them by force. 

The king replied : " If that was his mind he would do his 
best to receive him ; but as to the marriage he thought it 
would be a strange way of wooing Katherine, covered with 
the blood of her countrymen." This answer might have 
had a favorable effect on the young king had not the 
Dauphin Louis excited his anger by sending him a cask of 
tennis balls, saying, " that they were fitter playthings for 
him, according to his former course of life, than the 
provinces he demanded." "These balls," replied Henry, 
making an angry pun, " shall be struck back with such a 
racket as shall force open the Paris gates." 

[A.D. 1415.] He left Southampton in August, 1415, 
and after a furious battle took possession of Harfleur in 
October. In the winter he finished his campaign by the 
victory of Agincourt, which shed everlasting glory on his 
name. But it was a sad day for the enemy. France 
was thrown into a dreadful panic by the number of her 
nobles and princes that were slain at that battle. The 
Dauphin Louis is said to have died of grief on account of 
it ; but when, shortly after, his death was followed by that 
of his brother, there was a report that the unnatural 
Isabeau had poisoned both her sons. 

1418. Katherine of Valois. 271 

The malady of poor King Charles returned with so many 
misfortunes, and his wicked wife, taking advantage of the 
confusion in the country, made her escape from prison. 
She then joined the Duke of Burgundy, took the reins of 
government in her own hands, and obtained control of her 
beautiful daughter Katherine. 

Strange to say, although this woman had so shamefully 
peglected her children when they most required her care, 
she became quite proud of Katherine when she saw her 
such a lovely young woman, and soon exercised a surprising 
influence over her. The young princess had set her heart 
on becoming Queen of England, and in this her mother 
heartily seconded her. 

When Henry V. was laying siege to Rouen Isabeau sent 
him a picture of Katherine by an ambassador, who was to 
ask him, "whether so beautiful a princess required such 
a great dowry as he demanded with her ? " The king 
gazed long and earnestly on the portrait, and acknowledged 
that it was suprisingly fair, but refused to diminish his 
demands in the least. 

[A.D. 1418.] At last the city of Rouen fell. France 
was in a state of despair, and the queen resolved to try 
what effect Katherine herself would have on the proud 
heart of the conqueror, since her picture had failed to 
satisfy him. A truce was therefore obtained and a 
conference appointed at a town called Pontoise. 

The poor crazy king, with the queen and Katherine, 
came to the place of meeting in a richly ornamented barge. 
There was a large enclosure made with planks on the 
banks of the river Seine ; outside were tents and pavilions 
covered with blue and green velvet worked with gold. 
Some of these were occupied by the King and Queen of 
France, the Princess, the Duke of Burgundy, his council 
and a thousand soldiers. Then the King of England 

2/2 The Queens of England. 

arrived with his two brothers and his escort of men-at-arms, 
and took possession of the remaining tents. 

When the conference was about to commence the queen 
entered the enclosure from the right side followed by 
Katherine. The King of England entered from the left, 
advanced towards the queen, whom he saluted with 
profound respect, and kissed her as well as the princess. 
He then took his seat opposite, while the Earl of Warwick 
made a long speech in French. Some time was spent in 
discussion, when the parties took leave of each other and 
separated, leaving everything as unsettled as before. 
Three weeks later the same personages, with the exception 
of Katherine, met for another conference on the same 
spot. Finding that her daughter's beauty had not induced 
the conqueror to lower his demands, Queen Isabeau would 
not permit Katherine to be present the second time. This 
arrangement displeased Henry very much, for he was 
desparately in love with the handsome dark-eyed princess. 
Still he remained firm, and the second conference ended 
as unsatisfactorily as the first had done. 

Hoping that the family of his beloved would send some 
flattering messages, Henry waited a few days ; but losing 
patience at last he demanded a third interview. He had 
now made up his mind that he would be satisfied with 
something less than he had at first required, and felt certain 
that he would only have to open his arms to receive his 
pretty lady-love. But lo, to his great surprise and disap- 
pointment, on arriving at Pontoise he found the tents 
removed, the fence that marked the enclosure torn down, 
and all the planks taken away, showing plainly that the 
marriage treaty was supposed to be at an end. It served 
him right, but he looked upon himself as the injured party, 
and flew into a perfect rage. He now loved Katherine 
more than before, and turning to the Duke of Burgundy, 

I420. Katherine of Valois. 273 

the only member of the royal family of France who was 
present, he said ; " Fair cousin, we wish you to know that 
we will have the daughter of your king, or we will drive 
him and you out of his kingdom." The duke replied 
angrily, and many high words passed between the two men 
before they separated. 

Henry continued his war in France, conquering at every 
step, until, reduced to dire distress, the royal family were 
forced to pocket their pride, and beg to have the marriage 
treaty renewed. Henry was even asked to name his own 
terms. He haughtily replied : " That he had been deceived 
so often that he would treat with no one but the Princess 
Katherine herself, who, he was sure, would not try to 
deceive him." This message was carried to the queen, who 
returned a love-letter written by the princess, and a 
request that Henry would come to Troyes for the ceremony 
of espousal. He consented with pleasure. 

Henry V. had not been modest in his demands, for with 
the hand of Katherine he was to receive not only the prov- 
inces he had named in the first instance, but also the 
regency of the whole of France, thus disinheriting the older 
children of the royal family. 

[A.D. 1420.] On his arrival he was conducted with great 
ceremony to the Hotel de Ville, where apartments had been 
provided for him, and the next day he met Queen Isabeau 
and his lady-love at the church of Notre Dame, where, before 
the high altar, the articles of peace were read and signed. 
Henry's tall, handsome figure was well set off that day by 
the magnificent suit of burnished armor in which he appeared. 
In his helmet was a fox's tail ornamented with precious 
stones. A flowing plume would have been much prettier, 
but he liked to dress oddly sometimes, and no doubt thought 
that a little surprise of this sort would excite Katharine's 

2/4 The Queens of England. 

After the treaty was signed, King Henr}' requested an 
interview with his lady-love, which was granted, nobody 
besides being present excepting one female attendant. 
Katherine could speak little English, and Henry's knowl- 
edge of French was slight, which made their love scene, as 
Shakspeare has represented it, quite laughable. When he 
asks her : " Do you like me, Kate ? " she replies : " Pardon- 
nez moi, I cannot tell vat is — ' like mel^" But when he 
tells her she is like an angel, her knowledge of English serves 
her very well, though she modestly refers to her attendant, 
who speaks worse than she does, to have it explained. 

Henry makes a long speech, assuring her of his love, and 
asking for hers in return, and this she understands so well 
as to say : *' Is it possible dat I sould love de enemy of 
France ? " 

" No," he replies, " it is not possible you should love the 
enemy of France, Kate ; but in loving me you should love 
the friend of France ; for I love France so well that I will 
not part with a village of it : I will have it all mine ; and, 
Kate, when France is mine and I am yours, then yours is 
France, and you are mine." 

That puts her head all in a whirl, and she says, witt^a 
slight frown : " I cannot tell vat is dat." But the lover 
soon explains all that he wants her to understand and 
receives her promise to marry him. Placing a superb ring 
of great value upon her finger, Henry kisses his lady-love 
and thus ends the ceremony of betrothal. 

The following month they were married ; but this event 
did not put an end to the war, for the hone}-moon was 
passed amidst a series of sieges and bloodshed, and there 
is no account of Katherine's once interceding with her hus- 
band for her wretched country. If she had not been selfish 
in her happiness she might have spared much miser)' to 

1 42 1. Katherine of Valois. 275 

After the siege of Melun, Henry had Queen Isabeau pro- 
claimed regent of France, so that he might visit England to 
show off his pretty bride and have her crowned. First they 
made a triumphal entry into Paris, where rich presents were 
offered to the youthful queen, and the rejoicings were on a 
most magnificent scale. The young couple spent Christ- 
mas in that city, and went on the ist of February to Calais, 
where they embarked for England. 

[A.D. 142 1.] Towards the end of the month Katherine 
was crowned at Westminster Abbey and then conducted to 
the great hall, where a feast was served to a large party of 
noble ladies and gentlemen. But this feast had to be pre- 
pared without meat of any kind, for it was Lent, and called 
for a great deal of ingenuity on the part of the caterers. 
Each course was contrived to express some political mean- 
ing, the motto of explaining it being always attached to the 
most prominent dish. 

The only instance of active benevolence that we hear of 
Katherine took place at this feast, when she asked her hus- 
band to give James I. of Scotland, who was a prisoner and 
sat at the table, his liberty. Henry consented on condition 
that the king would go with him to fight in France. 

Then the young queen went to live at Windsor, where 
her husband would have joined her, but he was compelled 
to go back to France to fight. 

It was during the siege of Meaux that news was brought 
him of the birth of a son. " Where was the boy born ? " 
he asked eagerly, and when he was told " at Windsor," he 
repeated the following prophetic verse, which shows not 
only that he must have been very superstitious, but that he 
was a wretched poet : — 

" I, Henry, bom at Monmouth, 
Shall small time reign and much get ; 
But Henry of Windsor shall long reign and lose all ; 
But as God will, so be it." 

2/6 The Queens of England. 

Henry requested that the child should not be bom at 
Windsor, because he had some mysterious belief that bad 
luck hung over that palace, but Katherine had not chosen 
to obey him. 

The following spring she wrote a loving letter to her lord, 
declaring that she longed to see him, and he immediately 
wrote her to join him in France. 

She landed at Harfleur with an army of twenty thousand 
men, who were to assist in fighting against her unhappy 
country. Her father and mother advanced with Henry V. 
to meet her, and the reunion was a source of great joy to 
them all. No doubt the king wanted to see his little baby, 
but it had been left in England, and he was never to have 
that great pleasure. His health had been failing for a long 
time, but amidst the excitement of war he would not allow 
himself rest until he could no longer stand. Shortly after 
his wife's arrival he was carried on a litter to the castle in 
the wood of Vincennes, where she was stopping, and where 
he spent his last hours on earth. 

[A.D. 1422.] When he was dying, he said to the Duke 
of Bedford : " Comfort my dear wife, the most afflicted 
creature living." 

Katherine was not twenty-one years old when her hus- 
band died, and her grief was most violent, for she loved 
him devotedly. She made all the funeral arrangements 
herself, and they were conducted with great pomp. 

The body was laid on a chariot drawn by four black 
horses. Above it was a bed on which lay a figure made of 
leather, and painted to resemble the dead king. On the 
head of this figure was a crown of gold and precious stones, 
and around the body a purple robe lined and trimmed with 
ermine. In the right hand was a sceptre, in the left a globe 
of gold with a cross rising from it. The face was uncovered, 
and a canopy superbly decorated was held above it. The 


1422. Katherine of Valois. 279 

King of Scots and a number of princes, lords, and knights 
followed in deep mourning. Four hundred armed knights 
rode around the car with their lances pointing downward, 
and these were followed by a company of men clothed in 
white bearing lighted torches. The queen with her retinue 
came about a mile behind. When the procession reached 
London it was met by fifteen bishops, a score of abbots, and 
a vast crowd of priests and people. They proceeded along 
the streets chaunting hymns for their dead king. After 
his burial Katherine raised a magnificent tomb to his 

The little prince was just eight months old when his 
mother returned to him at Windsor, where she spent the 
first few weeks of her widowhood. When parliament met, 
four months later, she removed to London and passed 
through the city on a throne drawn by white horses and 
surrounded by all the princes and nobles of England. 
With her infant on her lap, the young mother looked very 
pretty and interesting, and it is said that the little fellow 
behaved remarkably well. As he grew up he was present 
each year at the opening of parliament, and when he 
reached the age of seven the Earl of Warwick was appointed 
his tutor. He was crowned at Westminster, and afterwards 
the ceremony was repeated at Paris. 

In the meantime his mother had become reconciled to 
the loss of her husband, and had married one Owen Tudor, 
with whom she lived very privately. After Henry V. died, 
the English met with many disasters in France, for there was 
nobody to lead them as this great warrior had done. This 
was a cause of deep sorrow to Katherine, and, with other 
anxieties, broke down her health. She died on the 3d of 
January, 1437, and was buried in "Our Lady's Chapel" at 
Westminster Abbey. 


(A.D. 1429-1479.) 

Margaret was the last of the Provencal Queens of 
England, and she filled a most important position for more 
than a quarter of a century. Through her mother she was 
a direct descendant of the great Emperor Charlemagne, and 
her father, Ren^ of Anjou, was the son of the King of 
Sicily and Jerusalem. 

[A.D. 143 1.] When she was about two years old her 
father fought a battle against Anthony of Vaudemonte, and 
was taken prisoner. This battle was to decide who was 
to rule over Lorraine, and as Ren^ was ca'ptured he was 
handed over to the Duke of Burgundy, who locked him up 
in the top of a high tower at Dijon. While there the royal 
captive amused himself with painting on glass ; some of the 
beautiful specimens of his art were preserved, and are still 
to be seen in the chapel of the Castle of Dijon. 

During the imprisonment of her husband, which lasted 
a long time, Margaret's mother was left with the entire 
care of their four young children, two boys and two girls, 
all of whom were remarkably pretty and interesting. 
Many months passed, and at last Ren^ was granted per- 
mission to leave the prison on condition that he would 
consent to the marriage of his elder daughter, Yolante, 
xhen in her ninth year, with Frederic of Vaudemonte, the 
son of the man by whom he had been made a captive. 
She was to have for her dowry part of the disputed lands 


i43«« Margaret of Anjou, 283 

of Lorrahie. Besides, Rend had to pledge himself to pay 
a heavy ransom to the Duke of Burgundy, to give his two 
sons as hostages, and to allow Yolante to go and live with her 
new mother-in-law. At the same time, the baby Margaret 
was promised in marriage to Pierre, Count of St. Pol, but in 
consideration of her youth she was permitted to stay at 
home. So out of their four children these unhappy parents 
took back only one to Nancy, where they were living. 

All Rend's efforts to raise the ransom failed, and there 
was nothing left for him to do but to deliver himself up at 
last and go back to prison. His son John went with him, 
while Louis, the younger one, was restored to his distressed 

Two years passed away, and Louis, King of Naples, died. 
Ren^ was his rightful successor, and his faithful wife 
immediately took steps to claim the throne for him. She 
was a woman of superior talent, courage, and energy, and 
as she lived at the time when the renowned Joan of Arc 
was flourishing, it did not appear in any way odd or strange 
that she should fight for her rights. She at once assumed 
the title of Queen of the Two Sicilies, and went to live in 
the Castle of Tarascon, on the banks of the river Rhone. 

Her two children became such pets among the Proven- 
9als, who loved their captive prince, that they were almost 
worshipped. Every time they went out the people would 
follow them in crowds, sing and strew flowers in their 
path, and present them with offerings of wreaths. At 
night they would light bonfires in front of the castle, 
because there was a superstition among them that it was 
the way to keep off pestilence. Once when a band of 
people, calling themselves witches and fairies, came with 
the crowd to see the pretty children, they were all burned 
alive, the ignorant of those times believing that pestilence 
was brought by the magic of such creatures. Notwith- 

284 The Queens of England. 

standing this precaution a plague really did break out, and 
the queen was obliged to hurry away with her little ones. 
They embarked at Marseilles and went to Naples, where 
there was an ancient palace belonging to the family of 

The queen then had her husband proclaimed King of 
the Two Sicilies. At this ceremony she was seated with 
her children in the chair of state, which was covered with 
velvet embroidered with gold, and borne through the streets 
of Naples. She never ceased working until she obtained 
her husband's freedom, and witnessed his grand entry into 
Naples on a stately white charger, followed by a Provencal 

[A.D. 1435.] I^ the treaty for his liberation the follow- 
ing very remarkable article, proposed by the Duke of 
Burgundy, appears : — " And to cement the peace between 
the two powers, Margaret of Anjou, second daughter of 
King Rene, shall espouse the young King of England." 
Margaret was then only six years of age. Her parents 
removed to a magnificent palace, where she and her brother 
Louis pursued their studies together for several years. 
Then Louis died and Margaret experienced in this loss her 
first real sorrow. 

King Rend's territories fell into the hands of the English, 
and he was reduced to such poverty that he retired with 
his family to Lorraine, where he spent his time writing 
verses and composing music that was the delight of all 
Europe. It was he who invented the opera ballet, and 
while thus pleasantly engaged he bore his trials with per- 
fect indifference. 

In the meantime, Margaret's engagement with St. Pol 
was broken off on account of the prospect of an alliance 
with the King of England. She had become a beautiful 
girl, and had created quite a sensation at the court of her 

1444- Margaret of Anjou. 285 

aunt, the Queen of France, by her wit and accomplishments. 
When Henry VI. heard of her charms he sent a gentle- 
man to find out if they had not been exaggerated, and at 
the same time to bring him a correct portrait of the Lady 
Margaret. The messenger returned with an eloquent 
description of her, partly because it was really deserved, 
and partly because he, as well as many persons of both 
the English and the French nations, hoped that this alliance 
would bring about a lasting peace between their countries. 
Henry was then in his four-and-twentieth year, good- 
looking, with a cultivated, refined mind, and excellent 

[A.D. 1444.] In 1444, commissioners met to arrange a 
treaty of peace, which was to be strengthened by the mar- 
riage of Henry and Margaret. When King Rent's consent 
was asked he gave it on condition that the dominions of 
Anjou and Maine were returned to him. This was granted 
by Henry and his council, and neither mo«ey nor lands 
were required for a dowry with the bride, her beauty and 
talents being considered sufficient "to outweigh all the 
riches in the world." 

There was some opposition made to this marriage by the 
Duke of Gloucester and his party, who did not want peace 
with France, nor a daughter of the house of Anjou on 
their throne ; but it was all arranged in spite of them, and 
the Duke of Suffolk sailed from England with a splendid 
train of nobility to conduct Margaret to her future home. 

The marriage ceremony was performed at Nancy in 
presence of the bride's parents, the royal family of France, 
and a large number of nobles and ladies. King Henry 
was not present, but Suffolk stood in his place, and mar- 
ried the Lady Margaret in the name of the Sovereign of 

King Ren(i gave a grand tournament in honor of the 

286 The Queens of Etigland. 

marriage, and all the princely knights and gallant warriors 
wore garlands of daisies out of compliment to the bride, 
who had chosen this flower for her emblem. The festivi- 
ties lasted eight days, and were attended by most of the 
nobles of France, England, and Burgundy. Margaret's 
sister, Yolante, was married at the same time, and this is 
how it was managed : she had been engaged to Frederic 
of Vaudemonte for more than nine years, but as her father 
had been forced to agree to this engagement when he was 
a prisoner he never intended to fulfil it. But the lover 
was not to be put off any longer, so he made a plan with 
some of his daring young friends to carr)' off his lady-love 
while the tournament was going on. King Rene was very 
angry at first, but soon forgave the young couple, and the 
festivities continued with fresh spirit. 

At the end of the week Margaret took a mournful fare- 
well of her weeping family and friends, by whom she was 
deeply loved. ^ Her uncle, Charles VII. of France, went 
part of the way with her. At parting, he pressed her in 
his arms tenderly, and said, with his eyes full of tears : 
" I seem to have done nothing for you, my dear niece, in 
placing you on one of the greatest thrones in Europe, for 
it is scarcely worthy of possessing you." The young 
queen was sobbing so that she could not reply, and they 
parted never to meet again. Her father went with her 
still further, and when they embraced in farewell they could 
not speak, but turned away from each other with hearts too 
full to permit of their uttering a single word. 

The wars with France that had lasted so long had made 
Henry so poor that he was obliged to call a meeting of par- 
liament, when his bride was coming, to get money to defray 
the expenses of his wedding and Margaret's coronation, and 
for the same purpose he pawned some of the crown jewels. 

The young queen had been so ill on the voyage that she 

1445- Margaret of Anjou. 28/ 

had to be carried from the boat to the shore. A terrible 
storm was raging when she landed, but in spite of the thun- 
der and lightning, people flocked in crowds to look at her. 
It was many days before she could proceed on her journey, 
because her illness proved to be something that looked very 
like small-pox. However, it could not have been a very 
severe case, because her beauty was not impaired in the 

[A.D. 1445.] She was able to join her husband at last, 
and their nuptials were solemnized at Tichfield Abbey, in 
April, 1445. The bridal ring contained a ruby of great 
value, and had been a present to the king from his uncle, 
Cardinal Beaufort. 

Poor Margaret's wardrobe was so scanty that Henry was 
obliged to buy her some clothing before she could appear 
in public. This to a girl of fifteen, who probably expected 
a fine trousseau when she married at least, must have been 
distressing. Although the English were dissatisfied because 
their new queen brought no dower, and because of her rela- 
tion to the royal family of France, her beauty won its way 
to their hearts, and secured for her a hearty welcome where 
ever she appeared. All the knights and nobles wore her 
emblem flower, the daisy, in their caps, when they came in 
a body to receive her in state. This must have been a very 
flattering compliment, and the king carried it still further 
by having " Marguerites " engraved on his silver. Grand 
preparations had been made in London for the young 
queen's reception ; there were triumphal arches across the 
principal streets bearing mottoes and beautiful designs in 
flowers, besides banners and evergreens. At every corner 
there were pictures or dressed-up figures having some po- 
litical meaning, or offering some mark of welcome and 
loyalty to the new sovereign. 

A large procession of men on horseback conducted hej 

288 The Queens of England. 

into the city. These consisted of, first, the Duke of 
Gloucester with five hundred attendants, all wearing his 
badge and livery ; then the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs in 
blue gowns with embroidered sleeves and red hoods. Next 
came the queen's carriage, surrounded by her suite, and a 
long train of followers brought up the rear. 

The coronation took place at Westminster two days later 
with great splendor, though the king's treasury was almost 
empty. No doubt all this display was very gratifying to 
King Rent's faithful steward, squire, and minstrels, who 
came to England to witness the reception of their princess, 
then went back home to tell all about it. 

A few weeks after the coronation an embassy arrived 
with congratulations to Henry VI. from the King of France, 
and Ren^, Margaret's father. Henry received them seated 
in a large chair of state covered with blue tapestry. His 
long robe of scarlet velvet with gold embroidery swept the 
floor. When the ambassadors made their speech, wishing 
him the blessings of peace and prosperity, he raised his hat 
and said, several times : " St. John, thanks ; great thanks 
to St. John ! " They then inquired after the health of the 
young queen, and expressed a hope that the peace then 
existing between France and England would last forever. 
Henry replied : " That he desired the continuance of peace 
beyond anything on earth ; " to which all who were present 
answered, " Amen ! " 

For the first two years after Margaret's marriage. Cardi- 
nal Beaufort was her chief adviser, and she became so fond 
of him that she would often make visits at his house in Wal- 
tham Forest, where there was a room magnificently fitted 
up for her special use with hangings of spun gold from 
Damascus. Henry was attached to the good cardinal also, 
and was always glad to be guided by his advice. He was 
of the greatest assistance to the young couple on several 

1445- Margaret of Anj oil. 289 

occasions, for his immense wealth enabled him to help 
them out of many a debt that they could not otherwise 
have paid. 

At this time Margaret was a woman of unusual intellect and 
grace of manners. One of the chroniclers of her reign says 
of her : " England had never seen a queen more worthy of a 
throne than Margaret of Anjou. No woman surpassed her 
in beauty, and few men equalled her in courage. It seemed 
as if she had been formed by Heaven to supply to her royal 
husband the qualities which he required in order to become 
a great king." 

It was a pity that she was called to share the throne of 
England when she was so young, for her judgment was not 
formed, and she had a nature that was more likely to create 
enemies than friends. She was very foolish in her treat- 
ment of the Duke of Gloucester, Henry's uncle, who, she 
knew, had been one of those most strongly opposed to her 
marriage. For this she could not forgive him, and, like a 
spoiled child, took every opportunity of showing him what 
influence she had over the king, and how much she loved 
Cardinal Beaufort and the Duke of Suffolk, both of whom 
were his sworn enemies. But there was a great change in 
her life by the time she had been two years on the throne, 
for Henry's ministers met in parliament, and decided on 
the destruction of the Duke of Gloucester. He had shown 
a disposition to join the Duke of York for the purpose of 
opposing the queen and her influence in every possible way. 
Although the king had no particular evidence to offer 
against his uncle, he was convinced that he was his enemy, 
and had him arrested for high treason. The whole country 
was astonished at this charge, but the astonishment was 
changed'to horror, when, seventeen days later, the Duke of 
Gloucester was found dead in his bed. Murder was sus- 
pected, but there was no proof of it. Some people even 

290 The Queens of England. 

accused the queen of having had a hand in it, but it is not at 
all probable that so young a girl, and one of Margaret's open, 
candid nature, could have been guilty of so foul a deed. 

Eight weeks later the venerable Cardinal Beaufort died, 
and the young queen was thus deprived of a friend and 
adviser, whose large experience and profound wisdom had 
made his counsel so valuable to her. This was, indeed, a 
most serious loss, for Henry had not the qualities requisite 
for the government of a kingdom, and this duty, therefore, 
fell upon the shoulders of Margaret, who was so young that 
she had scarcely learned to govern herself. The king was 
absorbed in his studies and in the regulation of the college 
at Eton, that the had just founded. Affairs of state interested 
him but little, so his wife naturally turned for advice to the 
nearest friend of the departed cardinal. This was the Duke 
of Suffolk, a gray-haired statesman and soldier, who had 
ser\'ed in the English army for thirtj-four years. He was 
also a member of the king's cabinet, and his wife was Mar- 
garet's favorite maid of honor. 

During the interval of peace that the English nation 
enjoyed before they were again forced into war, Margaret 
laid the foundation for Queen's College. She also tried 
to get the people interested in the manufacture of woollen 
and silk goods that had been commenced there many years 
before, but the desire for fighting had grown so that it was 
impossible to make those men or their sons who had 
fought in France, till the soil or weave cloth. The silk 
manufacture was chiefly carried on by women, while the 
men thirsted for the excitement of war in spite of its 

[A.D. 1449.] In 1449 Charles VH. renewed hostilities, 
and in the course of two years had got back most of the 
towns in Normandy. The Duke of York and his party 
blamed "that French woman," as they contemptuously 


Margaret of Anjou. 291 

called Margaret, for all their losses, and declared that 
the king was fit for a cloister rather than a throne, since 
he left all the affairs of his kingdom in the hands of a 

The Duke of York made himself so offensive to Margaret 
that she resolved to get rid of him at any cost ; she there- 
fore appointed him governor of Ireland. This was a 
serious mistake, for it only increased his power. He left 
a strong party in England who were opposed to the queen, 
though not openly, and did everything to make her and her 
favorite minister unpopular. They never ceased their 
efforts until they saw the Duke of Suffolk first imprisoned, 
then banished, and finally put to death by his enemies in 
defiance of the crown. 

This tragedy was the first of many scenes of blood and 
horror that were in store for England. The misery of the 
lower classes caused by famine and disease was so great 
that they rose in rebellion, headed by Jack Cade, who 
gathered his rough motley forces about him at Blackheath. 
They numbered fifteen thousand, but when they heard that 
King Henry was coming in person to fight them, they got 
frightened, and fled to a place called Seven Oaks. 

It was a pity that Queen Margaret went with her 
husband, for although she became warlike later in life, she 
was so little disposed to fight at that time that no sooner 
had Henry gained a victory than she persuaded him to go 
back with her to London. She could scarcely have com- 
mitted a greater error, for the rebels mistook the king's 
departure for cowardice, and marched straight to the 
metropolis, where there is no telling what they would have 
done had not the churchmen interfered and calmed the 
storm. At their approach the king and queen fled to 
Kenilworth Castle, and the archbishop took it upon him- 
self to pardon the rebels if they would return in peace to 
their homes. 

292 The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1450.] Cade was not pardoned, but when he 
found himself deserted by his followers he made his escape. 
A thousand pounds were offered for his head, and the 
sheriff of Kent, who caught him, obtained the reward. It 
was afterwards proved that the Duke of York was at the 
bottom of this revolt. 

The royal couple had now taken the Duke of Somerset 
into their favor, and though he was exceedingly unpopular 
in England he succeeded to Suffolk's high office. He 
belonged to the house of Lancaster, and it is said that his 
violent temper caused the beginning of those dreadful 
" wars of the roses " that lasted for twenty years. He had 
a dispute with Warwick in the Temple Gardens, and plucked 
-a red rose, calling on all the bystanders who sided with 
him to do likewise. Warwick chose a white rose, and did 
the same, and forever after the two parties of York and 
Lancaster were distinguished by this sign. Instead of 
endeavoring to settle the dispute. Queen Margaret wore 
the red rose, and very imprudently declared herself an 
opponent of the other party. 

In time the Duke of York became so powerful that the 
queen advised her husband to make an attack on him. 
He consented, and marched toward the Welsh border, but 
he was too weak to take a firm stand as he ought to have 
done to crush his enemy, and consented to an interview 
with York, who demanded that Somerset should first be 
put under arrest. Henry consented. York then disbanded 
his army and entered the king's tent quite alone. In the 
meantime the queen had contrived to get Somerset out of 
the Tower without Henry's knowledge. She then concealed 
him behind a curtain of the royal tent, so that he might be 
present at the interview. When York assured the king 
that he had taken up arms for the sole purpose of bringing 
Somerset to punishment, the concealed duke rushed from 

1453' Margaret of Anjou. 295 

his hiding-place and accused his enemy of treason. A 
fierce quarrel ensued, during which the king stood speech- 
less with astonishment. As York left the tent he was put 
under arrest, probably by the queen's order; but later, 
when he swore fealty to the king at St. Paul's Cathedral, 
he was released. 

[A.D. 1452.] About this time Talbot, Earl of Shrews- 
bury, one of. Margaret's most devoted friends, was killed 
in battle. A magnificent volume of sketches that he 
presented to her shows that he must have had great taste 
for the fine arts. The colored title-page represents the 
king and queen seated side by side on a low divan. 
Margaret wears a royal crown ; her hair is of a pale golden 
color, and falls gracefully over her shoulders. Her mantle 
is of royal purple, fastened with gems and bands of gold. 
She is beautiful and majestic in this picture, and does not 
appear more than twenty years old. Talbot kneels before 
her presenting the volume, with his dog by his side. Daisies 
are painted in clusters on the title-page, and the queen's initial 
(M) is surrounded by the garter and its motto. The ladies 
in attendance who stand behind the divan wear heart- 
shaped caps, formed of a stuffed roll ornamented with gold 
and jewels, and fastened in a fanciful turban shape over a 
close cap of gold cloth or net-work brought to a point in 
front and rising at the back of the head. At the end of 
Jhe volume is an allegorical picture representing Margaret 
and the ladies of her court as the Virtues. Margaret is 
Faith and King Henry appears as Honor. The old earl 
was mourned by all classes of people, for he was the greatest 
captain of the age. 

[A.D. 1453.] It was in this year that the queen's dearly 
loved mother died, and a still heavier calamity fell upon 
the royal household in the fearful malady that began to 
show itself in the king. He had inherited the brain dis- 

296 The Queens of England, 

ease of his grandfather, Charles VI. of France, and the 
trouble in his court had so affected him that his reason 
gave way under it. Margaret was therefore compelled to 
govern alone, whether she desired it or no, and, like a good 
wife, she made every effort to keep her poor ailing husband 
in ignorance of all political disturbance. She had him 
removed to his palace at Westminster, where he could be 
quiet and kept free from all excitement, and it was there 
that his only child, the unfortunate Edward of Lancaster, 
called "The child of sorrow," was born. This boy was 
named Edward, and was York's only rival to the throne. 
He was therefore not welcome to the nation, who felt 
that his existence would be the cause of much bloodshed 
between the two parties of York and Lancaster. 

At this period Queen Margaret was ruling, with the assist- 
ance of Cardinal Kemp, Archbishop of Canterbury, but 
he died a few months after the prince was born, and the 
House of Lords sent a committee to the king to request 
him to name a successor. But poor Henry stared at them 
without understanding a word they said, and of course 
could make no reply. The Duke of York was then ap- 
pointed defender and protector of the king as long as his 
illness lasted, or until Prince Edward should be old 
enough to ascend the throne. Five physicians and sur- 
geons were appointed to attend the royal sufferer and 
watch over his health. 

Margaret was so wrapped up in her baby, and so worried 
on account of her husband's condition, that she took no 
part in these political changes, but her party insisted on 
her having absolute power as queen regent. York objected, 
and had the Duke of Somerset put under arrest. 

A few months later the king's consciousness suddenly 
returned, and he seemed as though awakening from a deep 
sleep. His child was then shown to him, and he noticed 

1453* Margaret of Anjou. 299 

the boy for the first time, although he was more than a year 
old. The news of the cardinal's death brought tears to his 
eyes, and he said " that he never knew of it till this time," 
and " that one of the wisest lords in the land was dead." 

There was great rejoicing over the king's recovery, and 
Margaret immediately took measures to have him restored 
to power. Though still weak, he attended parliament and 
replaced Somerset in office. But this triumph of the 
queen's party did not last long, for the Duke of York 
raised an army and marched towards London, intending to 
take the king by surprise. 

Henry had courage, but he could not bear to shed the 
blood of his subjects ; however, there was no help for it 
now, so he made his headquarters at St. Albans, with not 
more than two thousand men. The Earl of Warwick com- 
menced the attack, and the battle, which lasted only one 
hour, was a desperate one, large numbers being slain on 
both sides. The king was wounded in the neck, but con- 
tinued to fight until left alone under the royal banner. He 
then walked coolly to a baker's shop close by to have the 
wound attended to. The Duke of York followed him, and 
falling on his knees before the sovereign, said : " Rejoice ! 
for the traitor, Somerset, is slain." Henry replied : " For 
God's sake stop the slaughter of my subjects." York then 
took the wounded king by the hand and led him to his 
apartments in the abbey of St. Albans. On the following 
day they went together to London. 

At the approach of the Duke of York's army Margaret 
had retired to Greenwich with her ladies and the little 
prince, where she awaited the result of the battle of St. 
Albans with great anxiety ; and when the news came of the 
defeat of her party, and the death of so many of her brave 
friends, she fainted and remained in a stupor for several 
hours. The king's wound was so serious that, added to 

300 The Qncejis of England. 

the excitement of the battle, it brought a return of his dis- 
ease. He was not in a condition to attend the next par- 
liament, so the Duke of York appeared in his name. 

This was a parliament made up of the queen's enemies, 
who naturally found great fault with her management of pub- 
lic affairs. They petitioned the king to appoint the Duke of 
York protector of the realm, and urged him so often and 
strongly to this step that at last he consented. No sooner 
was this done than the queen was advised to withdraw to 
some quiet spot with her husband and child. She was 
glad to comply, for her mind was so filled with these 
objects of her care that she did not feel capable of any 
other duties. She removed to Greenwich Palace, where 
she devoted herself to the nursing of the king and the 
education of her boy. But while there she received fre- 
quent visits from the princes of the Lancaster family and 
the young Tudors, Henry's half brothers. Besides these, 
a band of brave young nobles and gentlemen gathered 
around her, panting to avenge the blood of their fathers 
who had fallen at St. Albans. These so strengthened the 
Red Rose party that as soon as the king's health improved 
Margaret felt it her duty to present him again at parlia- 
ment. She therefore held a meeting of her friends and 
made all the arrangements for this step. 

[A.D. 1456.] When King Henry entered the House of 
Lords, and addressed them in a calm, dignified speech, 
telling them that since by the blessing of God his health 
was so far restored that the kingdom no longer needed a 
protector, they were so taken by surprise that they imme- 
diately consented to his resuming the reins of government. 
The Duke of York had not heard of this new move of Queen 
Margaret's, and happened to be absent. When an order 
reached him next day, signed by the king, requesting him 
to resign his office, he was so chagrined that he retired to 

1456. Margaret of Anjou. 30 1 

tl^e country. Henry Beaufort, heir to the late Duke of 
Somerset, was then appointed prime minister. 

The poor queen had her hands full, for not only was she 
obliged to keep constantly prompting her husband how to 
act, but she took great pains to amuse him and to preserve in 
him a calm, peaceful state of mind. Minstrels were gath- 
ered from all parts of the country, and well paid for reciting 
and playing to him, and daily requests came from nobles 
and other subjects for leave to go on pilgrimages to the 
different shrines to pray for his health. This had a very 
soothing influence and filled King Henry's mind with hope. 

Margaret showed a great deal of wisdom and prudence 
in the way she exercised her power at this time, and feel- 
ing a desire to know whether she was popular with her 
subjects, she resolved to travel with the king and the little 
prince through some of the midland counties and spend a 
short time at Coventry. Everywhere the royal party were 
received with great enthusiasm, and processions were got up 
in their honor. Margaret won her way to all hearts that 
were not prejudiced against her, and during her stay at Cov- 
entry the citizens became so devoted to her that the name 
of their town was changed to " Margaret's Safe Harbor." 

Now the French and Scotch thought that as there were 
two parties in England it was a good time to attack them, 
but they made a great mistake, for although the nation 
were divided among themselves, they became one as soon 
as a foreign power dared to attack them. A general con- 
gress of the two parties was called, and presided over by 
the lord-mayor, who was appointed guardian of the public 
peace. A treaty was formed after two months of debate 
and quarrel, when the king and queen made a public entry 
into London. The feast of the Annunciation was kept as 
a day of public thanksgiving for the peace that reigned 
between the houses of York and Lancaster, and when the 

302 The Queens of England. 

procession was formed to march to St. Paul's Cathedral, 
the earls who had been the deadliest foes headed it, walking 
arm in arm. The king followed alone, and just behind 
him came the Duke of York, leading Margaret by the 
hand. All appeared to be on the most loving terms, and 
the happiness of the citizens of London manifested itself 
in their cheering, bonfires and other signs of rejoicing. 
This patched-up, make-believe peace lasted only a short 
time, for the Duke of York was at that time lord admiral 
of the whole English navy, and with so much power he 
was not likely to remain long inactive. 

[A.D. 1459.] The following year the queen made a tour 
through some of the counties of England with her husband, 
for the benefit of his health, as she said, though her real 
object was to gain favor for her son, then a most engaging 
child of six years. So well did she succeed that at the bat- 
tle of Blore-heath, which was fought shortly after, ten 
thousand men wore the Prince of Wales' livery. King 
Henry was dangerously ill when this battle was fought. 
The Yorkists were victorious, and their leader boldly 
asserted his right to the crown. 

But Margaret was not crushed by defeat ; on the contrary, 
her energies were aroused, and she determined to take up 
arms herself to fight the cause of her husband and son. 
The warlike blood of Charlemagne was thrilling in her veins, 
and she was the countrywoman of Joan of Arc, who had 
proved herself such a successful warrior. She went to Cov- 
entry, where she succeeded in getting together another army. 
By this time the king's health had so far improved that she 
persuaded him to march to Ludlow and meet the Duke of 
York on the battle-field. 

In the meantime Margaret had so increased her popularity 
that many of the Yorkist soldiers refused to fight against 
her husband. The duke was taken aback at this, and cir- 

1459- Margaret of Anjou. 303 

culated a report of the king's death, and caused a mass to 
be sung in camp for the repose of his soul. Hearing of 
this, the queen caused a pardon to be proclaimed in the 
king's name for all who would return to their allegiance. 
The Yorkist leaders did not believe in this offer of par- 
don until Henry, urged on by his courageous wife, advanced 
to the very gates of Ludlow Castle and proclaimed it again. 
Then so many soldiers of the other side deserted that the 
duke made his escape and went to Calais, leaving his wife 
and her two younger sons to defend the castle. Tkey were 
taken prisoners, and the whole town was destroyed. 

Margaret was delighted with the success of her first cam- 
paign, but she did not enjoy her triumph very long, for the 
Earl of Warwick, who was a more determined enemy than 
York, brought a band of experienced soldiers from Calais, 
and gathering all his forces, made a tremendous charge on 
the Lancaster troops, killing ten thousand of them in two 
short hours, and capturing King Henry. The queen was 
stationed near enough to receive the dreadful news within 
an hour, and made her escape with her son to a fortress in 
the north of Wales, where she was honorably received and 
protected by a courageous chieftain of that country. 
Nobody knew where she was hidden, not even the king, 
who was taken to London and carefully guarded. 

As soon as York heard of the victory of his party he 
entered the city of London at the head of five hundred 
horsemen, with a sword of state borne before him. He 
rode straight to Westminster, and, entering the House of 
Lords, walked to the throne, and laid his right hand on it 
with a look around among the peers that implied he awaited 
an invitation to take his seat there. Not a word was 
spoken. At length the Archbishop of Canterbury broke 
the dead silence, and asked him, " if he would be pleased 
to visit the king." " I know of no one in the realm who 

304 The Queens of England. 

ought not rather to visit me," he replied, haughtily, and left 
the house. 

The peers then referred it to Henr}' to decide whether he 
or the Duke of York had the legal claim to the throne. 
He replied : •' My father was king ; his father was also 
king ; I have worn the crown forty years from my cradle ; 
you have all sworn fealty to me as your sovereign, and your 
fathers have done the like to my father and grandfather. 
How, then, can my right be disputed ?" Nevertheless, the 
king agreed that if he were permitted to wear the crown 
during his life, he would resign it, at his death, to the Duke 
of York or his heirs. He was next compelled to order the 
return of his wife and son. 

All the fire in Margaret's nature was aroused at hearing 
how the rights of her boy had been surrendered, but she 
was without an army, and what could she do ? Suddenly 
it occurred to her to seek assistance from the King of Scot- 
land. He was the son of a Lancaster princess, and his wife 
was a friend and relation of Margaret. She caused a 
report to be circulated that she was raising an army in 
France, then went secretly to Scotland, and within eight 
days after her husband's order for return had been received 
she crossed the Scottish border at the head of the forces 
she had gathered there, and unfurled the banner of the 
Red Rose. Her numbers were increased by knights from 
all the northern counties of England, and before the leaders 
of the White Rose party were aware of her being in the 
country at all, she presented herself at the gates of York. 

The duke was so taken by surprise at this bold movement 
on the part of the queen that he shut himself up in his strong 
Castle of Sandal to await the arrival of his son. But Mar- 
garet followed him up, and defied him day after day to meet 
her in the field, calling him a coward for being afraid of a 
woman, until he arranged his forces for battle, hoping to 

1459- Margaret of Anjou. 307 

frighten her away. He soon saw his mistake though, for 
Margaret was not in the least daunted at the sight of his 
warriors. She did not play the Amazon herself by fighting, 
but she directed her own forces, under the command of 
Somerset, in such a way as to enclose the Yorkists from all 
sides in a net, as it were, and in less than half an hour two 
thousand of them lay dead on the field, the duke himself 
among the number. Lord Clifford cut off the dead leader's 
head, crowned it with paper, and presented it on the point 
of his lance to Queen Margaret, saying : " Madam, your 
war is done ; here is your king's ransom." 

She shuddered at first and turned away, then suddenly 
remembering all the trouble this man had given her, she 
looked again and smiled in satisfaction. She then ordered 
the head to be placed over the gates of York, and that of 
the Earl of Salisbury, who was her prisoner, to be placed 
beside it, adding, that room must be left for those of the 
Earls of March, York's son, and Warwick, which she intend- 
ed should keep them company. This was a grave mistake, 
and added much to the fury of her enemies, who stopped 
at no deed of cruelty and horror after that. 

Her next step was to try to rescue her husband, for which 
purpose she hurried on to London. But she was met at 
St. Alban's by Warwick's forces leading the king in their 
train. A furious battle ensued, but Margaret's stout north- 
em soldiers were too much for the Londoners, and when 
night came all the Yorkists fled, leaving the king behind. 
One of his attendants hastened to the queen's quarters to 
inform her that her lord was near, whereupon she flew to 
embrace him. Accompanied by the Prince of Wales and 
some of the northern lords, they went to the Abbey church 
of St. Albans to return thanks to God for the king's deliv- 
erance. They were received by the abbot and monks, who 
prepared apartments for them in the abbey, where they 
remained for a while. 

3o8 The Queens of England. 

But Margaret's better feelings were all changed by the 
hard experience she had had, and in her desire for further 
vengeance she made so many mistakes that she turned the 
good-will of the Londoners towards her into hatred, and 
they refused to let her enter the city. So she removed with 
her troops towards the northern counties, her husband and 
son accompanying her. Then Edward of York entered Lon- 
don in triumph. He was received by the citizens as their 
deliverer, and proclaimed king by the voice of the people 
under the title of Edward IV. 

This was considered the death-blow to the house of Lan- 
caster, but not by the persistent Margaret, who in the 
course of a few days rallied an army of sixty thousand 
men. Her generals, Somerset and Clifford, persuaded her 
to stay with her husband and son, while they engaged 
Edward and the Earl of Warwick, first at Ferrybridge and 
then at Towton. A heavy snow-storm that fell in the faces 
of the Lancastrians so blinded them that their arrows did 
not take effect, while those of their enemy covered the field 
with forty thousand of their dead. 

Margaret fled to Scotland, and Edward IV. forbade all 
his subjects under pain of death to hold any sort of com- 
munication with her or her husband ; yet there were many 
faithful hearts ready to sacrifice life and fortune to the 
heroine of the Red Rose. She and Louis XL, then on 
the throne of France, were first cousins, and had been 
brought up together. To him she now turned for aid, but 
he received her coldly when she threw herself at his feet, 
merely offering her a sum of money providing she would 
give him Calais if she could not return it within a year. 
The people of England objected to this, and thought that 
as Calais was not hers to give she had committed treason 
in making the promise. 

After five months' absence she returned to England with 

1463- Margaret of Anjou. , 309 

two thousand volunteers, obtained more assistance from 
the Scotch, and got possession of several important fo«t- 

In the spring the battle of Hexham was fought, the York- 
ists being victorious. Margaret fled with her son to the 
nearest forest, where, after wandering about for awhile, she 
fell in with a gang of robbers, who stole everything of value 
that she had about her. While they were quarrelling over 
the division of the spoils, she snatched up her boy and ran 
away to the nearest thicket. When evening came on she 
crept out of her hiding-place, dreading above all things 
lest she might fall in with a band of Edward's troops, 
when by the light of the moon she beheld a robber of 
gigantic size advancing towards her with a drawn sword. 
Taking her son by the hand she bravely advanced towards 
the man with all her natural dignity of bearing and said : 
"Here, my friend, save the son of your king." The rob- 
ber was struck with astonishment, and dropping his sword, 
offered to conduct them to a place of safety, telling the 
queen that he was a Lancastrian gentleman who had been 
ruined in King Henry's service. Taking the prince in his 
arms he led Queen Margaret to a cave in the forest, where 
his wife received them and provided refreshments. There 
the fugitives remained for two days. On the third their 
hiding-place was discovered by the devoted followers who 
were determined to stand by Margaret to the very end. 
These were Pierre de Brezd, one of her own countrymen, 
his squire, Barville, and an English gentleman. 

[A.D. 1463.] From them Margaret heard of the escape 
of her husband and of the dreadful fate of her faithful 
friends, Somerset, Hungerford, and Roos, who had been 
captured and beheaded in the public market-place of Hex- 
ham without trial. 

On leaving the hut of the generous outlaw, the queen 

3 lO The Queens of England. 

thanked him and his wife with tears in her eyes. Her 
friends had offered them money, which they had refused, 
and Margaret had nothing left to give them. " Of all I 
have lost," she said, " I regret nothing so much as the 
power to recompense such virtue." She then proceeded 
to Scotland, reaching there only after a great deal of hard- 
ship and danger, to find that her presence caused great 
uneasiness to the king, who feared that it might be the 
means of bringing him into trouble with England. 

She embarked for Flanders, where some of the ladies of 
the court had taken refuge, accompanied by the prince, the 
faithful de Brez^, and about two hundred of those ruined 
Lancastrians who still had faith in her. 

When she arrived at St. Pol, the Duke of Burgundy not 
only received her with honors and gave a festival to wel- 
come her, but he also assisted her with money. To each 
of her ladies he presented a hundred crowns, to de Brez^, 
who had spent the whole of his fortune in Margaret's ser- 
vice, a thousand, and to the queen herself an order for 
twelve thousand crowns. This princely behavior on the 
part of the duke was like heaping coals of fire on Mar- 
garet's head, for she had always despised him, and had been 
heard to say more than once, " that if by any chance he 
were to fall into her hands she would make the axe pass 
between his head and his shoulders." He sympathized 
with her misfortunes, and entertained her in a way becom- 
ing her station, but he would give her no political aid nor 
allow any of his subjects to take part in her quarrel. As 
his guest she was welcome so long as she chose to stay, 
and when she left he provided her with an escort 

Margaret next visited her sister Yolante, Countess of 
Vaudemonte, and then her father offered one of his ancient 
castles in Verdun for her residence, where, with a few of 
her ruined friends, she devoted herself to the education of 
the last tender bud of the Red Rose of Lancaster. 


1463- Margaret of Anjou, 313 

After King Henry's escape at the battle of Hexham, he 
wandered about, hiding himself in the house of one friend 
or another, but most of the time in a cave, until he was 
betrayed by a monk, and taken to London under arrest. 
There he was treated most brutally by a mob, and after 
being led through the streets by the Earl of Warwick, who 
kept shouting " Treason, treason, and behold the traitor I " 
he was locked up in the Tower. 

It seems that Edward IV. still feared Margaret's power 
in England, for he had the coasts guarded to prevent her 
return, and put to the torture several persons who were 
pnly suspected of having assisted her with money. 

Two years later there was a great change in the politics 
of England, and the Earl of Warwick took up arms to 
drive the king from his throne. But he failed and was 
obliged to fly to France, where Louis received him. Now 
Margaret's relations saw a chance for regaining for her the 
throne she had lost, so they all united in trying to bring 
about an interview between her and her bitter enemy. At 
first she shuddered at the thought of ever seeing him, but 
when he became very humble, offered the most plausible 
excuses for his conduct, and swore to defend her and her 
son with all the power he had once used in opposing them, 
she consented to pardon him and influenced her son to do 
the same. The Earl of Oxford also obtained her pardon. 

Prince Edward was then eighteen years of age, and had 
fallen in love with Anne, the Earl of Warwick's second 
daughter. Margaret did all she could to oppose this 
match, but she was at last won over, and the marriage was 
solemnized the following August, 1470. 

In the meantime Warwick had raised an army to take 
to England, whither he went as soon as the wedding 
ceremonies were over. His wife. Queen Margaret, Prince 
Edward and his bride then went to Paris by invitation fro^n 

314 T^h^ Queens of England. 

Louis XI. The streets of the city were magnificently 
decorated and hung with rich tapestry, and all the officers 
turned out in grand procession to conduct the royal party 
to the palace of St. Paul, that had been fitted up for their 
reception. It was there that news came of the landing of 
the Earl of Warwick in England, and of his success in 
liberating King Henry and placing him on the throne once 

[A.D. 147 1.] Then Margaret with all her party resolved 
to return. In Februar}- the preparations were completed, 
and the fleet set sail from Harfleur. But wind and weather 
were against them, and after three times being driven bacl^ 
to the coast of Normandy, with great damage to the ships, 
they resolved to wait. 

When at last they were able to sail again, they were 
sixteen days and nights making a voyage that usually took 
twelve hours. After landing, they repaired to an abbey, 
where they were celebrating Easter when the dreadful news 
came of the death of Warwick and the recapture of King 

For the first time in her life the poor queen was 
completely crushed, and wished she might die rather than 
live for the misery that was yet in store for her. Some of 
the Lancastrian nobles sought her out, and expressed their 
intention of continuing the fight against Edward IV., and 
at last so aroused her from the despondent state into which 
she had fallen that she consented to aid them. Placing 
herself at the head of an army that they had raised, she 
marched thirty-seven miles in one day, and met her enemy 
within a mile of Tewksbury. 

When all arrangements were made for the battle, 
Margaret rode about the field from rank to rank, encourag- 
ing the soldiers with promises of large rewards if they won 
the victory. It proved a sorry day for the Lancaster cause, 

1479 Margaret of Anj'ou. 315 

and when Queen Margaret saw her troops wofully defeated 
she fell down in a swoon. She was carried from the battle- 
field to a small convent near by, where her daughter-in-law 
and some of her ladies awaited her. She was thus spared 
witnessing the fall of her son, who was killed near the close 
of the battle ; but when the dreadful truth was brought to 
her, she cursed King Edward and all his posterity in her 
agony of grief. 

When this was repeated to the king, he thought of putting 
her to death, but with a refinement of cruelty that was even 
worse, he forced her and the unfortunate Princess of Wales 
to take part in his triumphal entry to London. Margaret 
was then shut up in the dismal prison where her husband 
had been for five years, but she beheld him never again, 
for he was murdered the very night of her arrival in the 
gloomy fortress of the Tower. 

King Rend sacrificed his inheritance of Provence to 
Louis XI. for the liberation of his daughter Margaret. 
Then an agreement having been made between the Kings 
of France and England for her ransom, in August, 147 5, she 
landed in France, with three ladies and seven gentlemen 
sent by her father to escort her. Thirty years before she 
had left the shores of her native land a monarch's bride in 
all the pride and flush of youthful beauty ; she returned a 
broken-hearted, childless widow, for whose afflictions it was 
treason to shed a tear. 

" Ambition, pride, the rival names 
Of York and Lancaster, 
With all their long-contested claims, 
What were they then to her ? " 

[A.D. 1479.] She died in the fifty-first year of her age, 
and was buried in the Cathedral of Angers, in the same 
tomb with her royal parents. 


(A.D. 1431-1492.) 

When Elizabeth Woodville was maid of honor to Queen 
Margaret of Anjou she little supposed that she would ever 
ascend the throne of England, yet that was her destiny not 
many years later. 

But, first, she became the wife of John Grey, son and 
heir of the wealthy Lord Ferrers, who owned the domain of 
Bradgate, where she lived until her husband's death. John 
Grey was a brave, handsome man of twenty-five when he 
married Elizabeth, and occupied the important position of 
leader of Queen Margaret's cavalry. He was killed at the 
second battle of St. Albans, leaving his young wife with two 
little children, named Thomas and Richard, both under 
four years of age. By the cruel fortunes of war these little 
ones were deprived of their inheritance of Bradgate, and so, 
with their mother, went to live at the Castle of Grafton, which 
belonged to the Duchess of Bedford, Elizabeth's mother. 

One day when Edward IV. was hunting in the forest of 
Whittlebury, the young widow waylaid him, and throwing 
herself at his feet, pleaded earnestly for the restoration of 
Bradgate to her fatherless boys, who stood by her side. 
Struck by her beauty and downcast looks, the king listened 
attentively to her request, and not only granted it, but fell 
in love with her on the spot. This interview took place 
beneath the shade of a wide-spreading tree that is known 
to this day as the Queen's Oak. 



1464- Elizabetk Woodville. 319 

[A.D. 1464.] Elizabeth met her royal lover many times 
after that in the same place, and when the Duchess of Bed- 
ford, who was a most ambitious and manoeuvring mother, 
found out how matters stood, she arranged for a private 
marriage, which took place May i, 1464, in the town of 

The king's mother became very angry when she heard of 
this unequal match, for she was queen at that period, and 
could not bear to resign her place to the daughter of a man 
who began his career as a poor squire. However, it was 
too late to lament, and in the autumn the bride was led 
by the young Duke of Clarence to the abbey-church of 
Reading, where the king took her by the hand, and pre- 
sented her to the council of peers assembled there as his 
lawfully wedded wife. Elizabeth appeared that day in a 
dress of rich blue and gold brocade with a long, full train 
bordered with ermine. The sleeves and body were tight, 
and a band of ermine around the neck, and, passing down 
either side of the open skirt in front, displayed a rich satin 
petticoat. Over her yellow hair, which fell loosely down her 
back, she wore a lofty crown. A costly pearl necklace 
encircled her throat. 

Queen Elizabeth soon gained unbounded influence over 
the mind of her husband, which she too frequently exerted 
for the advancement of her own relatives. She had a soft, 
caressing voice, and always assumed an air of humility, 
when desirous of gaining a point, that had its weight with 
Edward. The acknowledgment of the king's marriage was 
followed by a series of the most brilliant feasts and tour- 
naments ever witnessed in England. 

The coronation of the new queen took "place at West- 
minster Abbey, May 26th. That morning the king had 
knighted thirty-two citizens, who preceded the queen's litter 
on horseback. After the coronation, which was conducted 

320 The Queens of England. 

with great solemnity, a grand banquet was held, the royal 
couple presiding. 

Elizabeth was most unfortunate in soon incurring the 
ill-will of Warwick, the prime minister, who had been all- 
powerful in England for several years. It was increased 
by the influence gained through her instrumentality by the 
various members of her family. Before long, the popular 
rage was excited against the Woodvilles, and England was 
in a state of insurrection. 

[A.D. 1469.] The queen's father and one of her broth- 
ers concealed themselves in a forest, but were discovered 
and beheaded, without judge or jury. This was a dreadful 
blow to Elizabeth, who was warmly attached to her family. 
The king went north to inquire into the cause of the out- 
rage, but could not get back for a long time because War- 
wick and the Duke of Clarence kept him under a kind of 
restraint; however he escaped at last, and got back to 
London. Then Warwick and Clarence were so frightened 
at having interfered with the king's movements that they 
got away with their families as quickly as possible and went 
to France. 

All this time the queen was safely lodged in the Tower. 
But it was not very long before Warwick returned to Eng- 
land, and Edward came so near falling into his hands again 
that he fled half-dressed one night just as the troops 
approached the castle, and embarked on board a ship at 

Elizabeth was so alarmed for her own safety and that of 
her family that she went at once to a gloomy monastery, 
called the Sanctuary, where her mother and her three 
daughters, Elizabeth, Mary, and Cicely, accompanied her. 

[A.D. 1470.] It was there that the first son of Edward 
IV. was born. He was named after his father, and chris- 
tened with as little ceremony as though he had been the 
son of the poorest man in the kingdom. 

1483. Elizabeth Woodville. 323 

By the time the little prince was five months old, the 
Duke of Clarence had parted from Warwick, and Edward 
returned to London, where he was warmly received. He 
hastened to meet his family, and removed them from the 
Sanctuary to his mother's palace, Castle Baynard. Several 
battles that he fought and won after his return put an end 
to so many of Edward's opponents — among them War- 
wick, the most formidable — that the house of York was at 
last firmly established in power and the rebellion crushed. 
Then followed several years of peace, when the royal 
family were settled at Windsor or at Westminster, holding 
court with great state and splendor. 

King Edward's second son. Prince Richard, Duke of 
York, was bom during this season of enjoyment, and when 
he was five years old he was formally married to Anne 
Mowbray, infant heiress of the Duchy of Norfolk, aged 

The following spring the singular death of the Duke of 
Clarence occurred. He had been condemned to execution 
for an offence against the king, his brother, but one morning 
he was found drowned in a butt of malmsey. Clarence 
was in the habit of drinking to excess, and it was supposed 
that he fell into the butt of his favorite wine while in a state 
of intoxication. 

[A.D. 1483.] In 1483 King Edward was seized with an 
attack of fever that resulted in death. After lying in state 
for several days his body was interred with great pomp in 
the Chapel of St. George. 

Queen Elizabeth was left in a more unprotected state 
this time than when her first husband died. The young 
king was pursuing his studies at Ludlow Castle, under the 
care of her brother, Lord Rivers. Elizabeth proposed to 
the council that he should be at once escorted to London 
with a powerfiil army, but Lord Hastings, who presided. 


The Queens of England. 

could see no necessity for such a step, and so, unfortu- 
nately for young Edward, it was not taken. 

Meanwhile the Duke of Gloucester, who was in Scot- 
land, caused Edward V. to be proclaimed at York, and 
wrote such a kind, deferential letter to the queen, that she 
felt she had a friend in this first prince of the blood. 

The council then commanded Earl Rivers to bring the 
young king to London, and Elizabeth was eagerly awaiting 
him, when news was brought to her that the Dukes of 


Gloucester and Buckingham had met him with an armed 
force, seized his person, and arrested Earl Rivers and Lord 
Richard Grey, who were with him. The poor mother could 
scarcely believe such an astonishing rieport. As soon as 
the Archbishop of York heard what had happened, he took 
the great seal and carried it to Elizabeth, assuring her that 
if an attempt were made to crown anybody but her eldest 
son he would take it upon himself to crown Richard. But, 
when on the following day, he saw the Thames covered with 
boatloads of Gloucester's soldiers, placed there to watch 
the queen, he regretted what he had done, and went to the 

1483- Elizabeth Woodville. 325 

Sanctuary, where Elizabeth had taken refuge with the 
Duke of York, to get the seal back again. 

The 4th of May had been appointed for the coronation 
of Edward V. He entered the city surrounded by a retinue 
of the Duke of Gloucester's officers, headed by the treach- 
erous duke himself, and, under some pretence, was lodged 
in the royal apartments of the Tower, the coronation hav- 
ing been postponed for some trivial reason. 


Gloucester's next object was to get possession of Prince 
Richard. He would have taken him by force, but the 
Archbishop of Canterbury took it upon himself to persuade 
Elizabeth to give him up. This he accomplished, after a 
great deal of persuasion, by working upon her sympathies 
and telling her of the loneliness of her eldest son, Edward, 
who was pining for a playmate. At last it was agreed that 
the child should go to his brother until after the corona- 
tion, for which preparations were going on night and day. 

But the Duke of Gloucester intended that no such coro- 
nation should ever take place, so he brought shameful 
accusations against Elizabeth and her children, put several 

326 The Queens of England. 

of her adherents to death, and finally had himself crowned 
King of England on the 26th of June. 

In less than a month from that date the two little princes, 
whom he had kept shut up in the Tower, were murdered 
by his order. It is impossible to describe the agony of the 
poor mother when she learned the fate of her two dear 
little boys. She cried to God for vengeance on the wretch 
who had committed so foul a crime. Only a few months 
later Richard of Gloucester's only son, for whose advance- 
ment he had shed so much innocent blood, died. 

Elizabeth was forced to submit to the will of the usurper, 
whose acts of tyranny rendered her existence bitter in the 
extreme. But she lived to see her daughter Elizabeth 
on the throne of England, as the wife of Henry VII., and 
her own restoration to liberty. 

[A.D. 1492.] She died in 1492, attended in her last ill 
ness by the most affectionate care of her daughter. Her 
funeral was conducted with the utmost simplicity, and she 
was buried at St. George's Chapel, in the tomb with 
Edward IV. The monument is of steel, representing a 
double gate between two ancient Gothic towers. On a flat 
stone, at the foot of this monument, is engraved : 

King Edward, and his Queen, 
Elizabeth Woodville. 



(A.D. 1454-1485.) 

Few women living only to the age of thirty-one, have 
known as much sufEering and sorrow as came to the lot of 
Anne of Warwick in that limited space of time. The 
greater part of her childhood was passed at Calais, but she 
was in England with her father, the Earl of Warwick, at 
intervals during the struggles between the houses of York 
and Lancaster, in which he took such a prominent part, 
and fled with him in terror after Edward IV. escaped from 
his clutches. The misery and danger of that flight to 
France came to an end at last, and then succeeded a few 
months of genuine happiness for this young girl. 

[A.D. 1470.] The treaty concluding her marriage 
with Edward of Lancaster having been duly concluded, 
Anne was united to him shortly after her return to France, 
only to be deprived of his beloved companionship within the 
year, for he was killed at the battle of Tewksbury, and she 
was left a widow at seventeen. The Duke of Gloucester, 
being Anne's cousin, had seen a great deal of her during 
her childhood, for they were nearly of the same age, and 
had shared each other's pastimes. But he had such a 
dreadful temper, and was, besides, so disagreeable, being 
humpbacked and ungainly, that Anne was not fond of him. 
He, on the contrary, was so much in love Avith her, that no 
sooner was she free to marry than he determined to make 
her his wife. 


328 The Queens of England. 

Being under the same charge of treason that included her 
mother and Queen Margaret, after the Duke of Gloucester 
had assumed the reins of government, she was in his power. 
But she tried hard to elude his attentions and even went so 
far as to take a situation in a house in London disguised 
as a cook. The wily humpback found her out, however, 
and placed her in a convent for safe-keeping. After a time 
she was permitted to seek the protection of her uncle, the 
Archbishop of York, but his arrest left her again exposed 
to the persecutions of her hated cousin, who, by a series of 
wicked deeds, forced her at last to marry him. 

[A.D. 1473.] The ceremony took place at Westminster 
in 1473, and then poor Anne was more unhappy than ever. 
She lived at Middleham Castle in Yorkshire, where, for a 
time at least, she was rid of her hated tyrant of a husband, 
for he was engaged fighting the Scotch, and only returned 
after the death of Edward IV., as mentioned in the last 

In 1474 the son was bom for whom the Earl of Glouces- 
ter had so foully steeped his soul in crime. This child was 
Anne's one source of comfort and joy, and on him she lav- 
ished all her affections. 

A few days after his return from Scotland the Duke of 
Gloucester started, as we have seen, with a troop of soldiers 
to intercept his nephew, Edward V., on his way to London, 
and proceeded with the hapless boy in his charge. 

Anne joined her husband after he had caused the murder 
of his two nephews in the Tower, and shared the coronation 
for which he had committed so many shameful and out- 
rageous deeds. The very preparations that had been made 
for the coronation of Edward V. served to grace that cere- 
mony when his cruel uncle usurped his rights, and the 
same day Gloucester's son, Edward, was created Prince of 



Anne of Warwick. 


A banquet succeeded, and every detail of the entire cere- 
mony was conducted with great splendor. Then the 
royal couple, attended by the prince, passed through the 
metropolis in procession and took up their abode at Wind- 
sor Castle. Later they kept court in grand style at 
Warwick Castle for a week, and afterwards travelled 
through the kingdom; At York these new sovereigns were 
crowned once more, and soon after Richard III. was re- 
called to London on account of an insurrection headed by 
the Duke of Buckingham. Anne accompanied him, leaving 
her son under the protection of friends in the north, where 
she thought he would be safer than in London. She never 
beheld the child again, for he died during her absence. 
The shock caused by this sudden and dreadful calamity so 
crushed the unfortunate mother that her health began to 

When she was ill and suffering her wicked husband was 
more unkind to her than ever. He seemed anxious to be 
rid of her, and shed only a few hypocritical tears when she 

In 1485 the heart-broken Anne of Warwick was buried 
at Westminster, not far from the altar. 

Richard III. was killed at the battle of Bosworth within 
the year. 



(A.D. 1466-1503.) 

This princess was the daughter of Edward IV. and Eliza- 
beth Woodville, whose secret marriage caused so much 
trouble. She was shut up in the sanctuary while her father's 
throne was in jeopardy, and danced at the balls given to 
celebrate his restoration. She was at that time only six 
years old, and when she reached the advanced age of nine 
her hand had been promised in marriage four times as a 
peace-offering from her father to other monarchs, 

Elizabeth was well educated, for at a very early age she 
could read and write her own language, as well as French 
and Spanish. She was sixteen when her little brothers 
were murdered in the Tower, and her love for them had 
been so great that she grieved very deeply over their cruel 
fate. Her engagement with Henry of Richmond, who 
afterwards ascended the throne, turned her attention from 
this dreadful event somewhat. Elizabeth was separated 
from her mother when they left the sanctuary, and went to 
the court of Richard HI., whose queen always treated her 
with great kindness and consideration. 

Lord Stanley, Henry Tudor's stepfather, occupied a very 
high position at court, and to him the Princess Elizabeth 
applied for assistance in getting possession of the throne, 
to which she knew she had a right. Stanley had several 
secret interviews with the princess on this subject, and 
assured her that, at his bidding, his adherents in the north- 


1485- Elizabeth of York. 335 

west would fly to her side, armed and equipped for battle. 
But, like many of the earls of his day, Lord Stanley could 
not write, and he did not dare trust a public scribe with his 
directions. Thereupon Elizabeth assured him that if he 
would only dictate, and affix his seal, she would do all the 
necessary writing. For this purpose they met in disguise. 
Six letters were duly prepared and sealed, and committed 
to the care of Humphrey Brereton, a knight who had been 
attached to the cause of Edward IV. These dangerous 
despatches were delivered according to their directions, and 
on his return from the expedition Brereton met Stanley 
and Elizabeth at an old inn in the suburbs of London, with 
a party of gentlemen who had returned with him. This 
meeting took place at night, and when Elizabeth had satis- 
fied herself that no prejudice existed among these men 
against her Lancastrian lover, she agreed to send him a 
ring through them as a token that he might trust himself in 
Stanley's power. Brereton carried this ring to Henry, who 
was at a monastery some miles from Rennes. The lover 
kissed his lady's present, but kept the messenger waiting 
three weeks for his answer. Henry Tudor had been a 
fugitive and a prisoner nearly all his life, and extreme 
caution had become second nature to him. 

At last he consented to undertake an expedition that 
would either make or mar him, and sailed from Harfleur 
with a large fleet. He was received in England with a 
hearty welcome, for the people regarded him as a saviour 
who was to preserve them from Richard's tyranny. 

[A.D. 1485.] On the evening of the 21st of August, 
1485, three weeks after his arrival, Henry encamped with 
his army near Bosworth. The next day the celebrated 
battle was fought, which terminated the life of Richard 
in., and placed Henry Tudor on the throne. 

After the death of Anne of Warwick Richard HI. had 

33^ ^^^ Queens of England. 

sent his niece, Elizabeth, to a castle in Yorkshire, wnere 
she was kept as a close prisoner, and the first intimation 
she had of her royal lover's success was when the people 
of the neighborhood gathered about the gloomy building 
with shouts of joy. A guard of nobility and gentry escorted 
her in state to London, and she went in company with her 
mother to live at Westminster Palace. 

Henry VII. was recognized as King of England, and 
crowned soon after ; but he seemed in no hurry about his 
marriage, which did not take place until January i8th of 
the following year. The event was celebrated with bon- 
fires, banquets, dancing and songs, and the prelate who 
performed the ceremony held a bunch of red and white 
roses, tied together for -the first time. This was in com- 
memoration of the union of the rival houses of York and 

[A.D. i486.] The royal couple then went to live at 
Winchester, where in the course of a year their first child 
was born. He was named Arthur, after King Henry's 
favorite hero and ancestor. 

[A.D. 1487.] The birth of this prince was succeeded by 
his mother's coronation, which took place in November, 
1487. On the Friday before that important ceremony 
Elizabeth went with her husband from London to Green- 
wich. She was accompanied on the river Thames by 
a grand pageant of boats, the finest being rowed by the 
students of Lincoln's Inn, who had beautiful music per- 
formed on their barge throughout the route, and kept 
side by side with that of the queen. That night was passed 
at the Tower, where the king created eleven Knights of the 
Bath, and the next day Elizabeth proceeded through the 
city to Westminster Palace. An immense crowd collected 
to behold their queen, as this was her first public appear- 
ance since her marriage. 

1487. Elizabeth of York. 337 

She was not quite twenty-two ; her figure was tall and 
handsome ; her complexion fair and brillant. She had, 
besides, soft blue eyes and delicate features, set off by a 
profusion of yellow hair. Her costume on this occasion 
was a gown of white "silk, brocaded with gold, and a mantle 
of the same material, bordered with ermine and fastened 
across the breast with gold cords and tassels. A close- 
fitting cap, formed of rich gems in a golden network, 
encircled her head, and her hair fell loosely around her 

The young queen was borne in an open litter, and four 
of the new Knights of the Bath supported a rich canopy 
over her head. She was preceded by four baronesses, riding 
on gray horses, and Henry's Uncle Jasper, as grand steward. 
Lord Stanley, now Earl of Derby, was high constable, and 
the Earl of Oxford, Lord Chamberlain. The queen was 
followed by her sister Cicely, who sat in an open chariot 
with the Duchess of Bedford, and a long train of other 
vehicles containing noble ladies, the rear being brought up 
by six baronesses on horseback. The streets were all 
decorated, and a chorus of children, dressed as angels, 
sang the queen's praises as she passed along. 

The following morning Elizabeth entered Westminster 
Hall in a rich robe of purple velvet edged with ermine. 
A coronet of gold, set with large pearls and colored gems, 
encircled her brow. She stood under a canopy of state, 
and then, followed by her attendants, proceeded to the 
abbey. A strip of carpet over which she walked was cut 
to pieces and distributed among the throng assembled to 
gaze upon her, and so eager were they to possess them- 
selves of this memento that several people were trampled 
to death. King Henry and his mother took no part in the 
coronation, but sat in a latticed box placed for their use, 
and observed both the church ceremony and the banquet, 

338 The Queens of England. 

at which the queen presided, afterwards. From that time 
she appeared in public with all the splendor of a Queen of 

[A.D. 1489.] In 1489 a little princess was born; she 
was named Margaret after the king's mother, who presented 
the infant with a silver box filled with gold pieces. At the 
christening a play was performed before the royal family 
at the palace. 

[A.D. 1 49 1.] The second prince, who afterwards reigned 
as Henry VIII., was born June' 28, 1491. He was always 
remarkable for strength and robust health, but we shall 
have more to say about him hereafter. 

Queen Elizabeth was so generous, not only to her own 
family, but to those of her subjects who brought her trifling 
presents of early vegetables, fruit, or flowers, that she often 
found herself in debt, and had to pawn her plate or jewels 
to satisfy her creditors. But her own wants were limited, 
and she managed her personal expenses with economy. 

[A.D. 1495.] In 1495 the king and queen were in 
great trouble on accoimt of the invasion of Perkin Warbeck, 
who was married to one of Henry's nearest relatives. 
This man was ah impostor, but so active in his movements, 
appearing in quick succession in various parts of the 
realm, that for seven long years there was danger of his 
usurping the crown. At last, the battle of Blackheath 
decided his cause ; for it was won by King Henry, and 
Perkin was soon after captured. Henry did not wish to 
shed the blood of this kinsman, but it became absolutely 
necessary before peace could be restored. He was there- 
fore hanged at Tyburn, November 16, 1499. The Earl of 
Warwick had allowed himself to become so implicated in 
Perkin's schemes that he too was condemned to death; 
his execution took place on Tower Hill a fortnight later. 

[A.D. 1499.] A dreadful plague broke out in England, 

I503- Elizabeth of York. 339 

the same year, and the king felt so alarmed for the safety 
of his family that he took them to Calais, where they 
resided for a couple of months. During that period two 
marriages of great importance were agreed upon. One 
was between the little Princess Mary, Henry's youngest 
daughter, and Charles, son of the archduke, Philip of 
Austria ; the other was between Arthur, Prince of Wales, 
and Katharine of Arragon, but within five months. Prince 
Arthur was dead. The king and queen were at Greenwich 
Palace when the loss of their eldest son was made known 
to them. Each tried to comfort the other and to bear the 
sad bereavement with Christian fortitude. But Arthur had 
been a promising youth, and it was long before his afflicted 
mother could reconcile herself to his death. 

The following January, 1502, the Princess Margaret was 
betrothed to James VI. of Scotland. The ceremony was 
performed at St. Paul's Cathedral and presided over h^ 
the queen, who afterwards led her daughter by the hand ic 
a grand banquet prepared at the Bishop of London's Palace 
Margaret, who was only a little over twelve years of age 
remained in England to finish her education under hei 
mother's care. 

[A.D. 1503.] But on February 11, 1503, the gentle, 
pious, lovely, and dearly-loved Queen Elizabeth expired, 
suddenly, after a very short illness. This event cast a 
gloom over the whole city ; the bells of St. Paul's and of 
all the churches in London tolled dismally, and the utmost 
sorrow was felt in every household. 

The queen's body was embalmed and placed within the 
Tower Chapel where it lay in state for twelve days. Then^ 
after mass had been celebrated, it was placed in a hearse 
covered with black velvet, on which was a large white cross. 
An image exactly representing the queen was placed in a 
chair above. This image was decked out with royal robes, 


The Queens of England. 

crown, sceptre, jewels and every'thing just as Elizabeth had 
appeared when living. Four women kneeled by the chair, 
on top of the hearse, which was drawn by six horses, in 
black velvet trappings, from the Tower to Westminster. 
The horses were led by men robed in black ; eight ladies 
of honor rode singly after the hearse, followed by the lord- 


mayor, other authorities, and a long train of citizens. At 
every door in the city stood a man bearing a lighted torch, 
and at various points groups of thirty-seven virgins, that 
number corresponding with the queen's age, were stationed, 
all dressed in white and holding lighted tapers. Torches 
burned before all the churches, and bands of monks and 


Elizabeth of York. 


nuns, singing anthems, met the funeral procession as it 
moved along. The Earl of Derby led a party of nobles, 
who preceded the hearse into the churchyard of St. 
Margaret, Westminster. The body was carried into the 
abbey, where it was placed on a dais richly covered with 
velvet drapery, on which the queen's motto : " Humble and 
Reverent," was embroidered. All the lords and ladies in 
attendance then retired to Westminster Palace and took 
supper. Next morning the remains of Elizabeth were put 
in the grave. 

Henry VII. lived seven years after his wife's death, and 
developed some very bad traits when her influence was 
removed. He had never permitted her to have any voice 
in the government of the realm, but in her gentle loving 
manner she had prompted him to many a generous, sensible 
action. He died in 1509, and was buried in the splendid 
chapel at Westminster Abbey which bears his name. 


HENRY VIII. (A.D. 1485-1536.) 

Katharine of Arragon was born when her native land 
was at the very height of its prosperity. Her parents were 
Ferdinand and Isabella, the powerful and popular sover- 
eigns, who had conquered nearly the whole of Spain. 

Katharine's early infancy was passed in a camp where 
Queen Isabella resided with her young family while her 
anny besieged the town of Granada. This siege lasted 
for several years, but the town was taken at last ; and when 
Katharine was four years old she accompanied her parents 
in their grand triumphal entry into Granada, where she lived 
until she went to England. 

Her residence was in the Alhambra, that gorgeous palace, 
once the abode of the Moorish kings, always an object of 
wonder and admiration, even to this ver}' day when it is 
almost in ruins. Part of her time was passed in the cool, 
shady bowers of the Generalife, the fairy palace which stood 
on a mountain high above the Alhambra, in the midst of 
luxuriant groves, fruit, flowers, arbors and hedges, such as 
only a southern climate can produce. It was from this 
home that Katharine took her device of the pomegranate, 
which was used during her reign in England as a decora- 
tion. This fruit was once a production of Granada, and 
was worked on the coat-of-arms of the Moorish kings. 

Queen Isabella was the most learned princess of her 
time in Europe, and knew the importance of a good edu- 


1485. Katharine of Arragon. 345 

cation for her four daughters. Consequently she provided 
them with the very best tutors she could find, and they 
early became excellent Latin scholars. Katharine read 
the Scriptures in that tongue, and throughout her whole 
life continued to study it. 

When she was sixteen years old Henry VII. of England 
sent ambassadors to Spain to demand her hand in mar- 
riage for his son, Prince Arthur. The union was agreed 
upon, and Katharine sailed with four young ladies and 
other attendants for Plymouth, where she was received by 
a crowd of nobility and gentry, who entertained her all the 
time she was amongst them with a variety of sports pecu- 
liar to their country. As soon as her arrival was known 
the king sent Lord Brook, steward of the royal palace, to 
provide everything for her comfort. The Duchess of Nor- 
folk and the Earl of Surrey went to meet her also, and the 
former remained as her companion. 

The following month the king himself set out for Ply- 
mouth, but the roads were in such a wet, muddy condition 
that it was several days before he reached East Hampstead, 
where he met Prince Arthur, who did not until then know 
of the arrival of his bride. Next morning they continued 
their journey, but had not gone far when they were met by 
a party of Spanish cavaliers on horseback, who stopped 
them, and in a most solemn manner informed them that 
they could not proceed further, because their Moorish cus- 
toms forbade the royal bridegroom or his father to look 
upon the face of the bride until she stood at the altar. 

King Henr)' was amazed. He was quite willing to 
observe all reasonable forms and ceremonies, but to his 
English ideas this seemed thoroughly absurd, and he was 
not willing to turn back. 

He had come to a dead halt in the drenching rain on 
that cold November morning, and felt rather cross at bav- 

346 The Queens of England. 

ing his progress thus interrupted. After a few moments 
consideration he called his councillors about him, and 
asked what he should do. A long discussion ensued, and 
the conclusion was, " that the Spanish infanta, being now in 
the heart of this realm^of which King Henry was master, 
he might look at her if he liked." This suited the king 
precisely, and, leaving his son behind, he rode rapidly for- 
ward to the next town, where Katharine had arrived only a 
couple of hours before. Her retinue were thrown into a 
terrible state of perplexity when Henry made a request to 
see her, and presented himself for that purpose at the very 
door of her apartments. An archbishop, a bishop, and a 
count stood guard, and informed the king " that the lady 
infanta had retired to her chamber." But the more opposi- 
tion he met with the more his curiosity was aroused, and 
the more determined was he to see the bride. He declared 
that " if she were even in bed he meant to see and speak 
with her, for that was his mind and the whole intent of his 

There was nothing more to be said, and further opposi- 
tion might have given serious offence to the monarch, 
therefore the infanta dressed herself and admitted him. 
The interview must have been rather unsatisfactory, because 
neither could speak the language of the other; however 
somebody must have interpreted what was said, for King 
Henry seemed much pleased. 

He withdrew. to change his damp garments, and within 
half an hour presented himself again at Katharine's door, 
this time with the prince, who had followed him. In the 
presence of several bishops and nobles the young people 
went through the ceremony of betrothal, which was done 
in Latin, and therefore understood by both. After supper 
the king and Prince Arthur returned to the infanta's apart- 
ments, where the evening was passed in music and dancing, 

I50I' Katharine of Arragon. 349 

interspersed with singing by the minstrels. Prince Arthur 
could not join in the Spanish dances, but he knew the 
English ones, and went through the figures with one of the 
ladies of his own country. 

Katharine continued her journey next day, and on her 
arrival at Kingston was met by the Duke of Buckingham 
on horseback, the Earl of Kent, Lord Henry Stafford, the 
Abbot of Bury, and four hundred dukes and gentlemen, in 
the Stafford livery of scarlet and black, who came to wel- 
come her into the realm. She rested at that place all night, 
and was escorted to Kennington Palace next day by Buck- 
ingham and his train. There she stopped until the Span- 
ish retinue, as well as all the nobility of England, could 
make the necessary preparations for her grand entry to 

In the meantime King Henry went to meet his wife at 
Richmond, and to tell her what he thought of their new 
daughter-in-law. The royal couple then came down the 
Thames, in a barge, with a party of ladies to welcome the 

Three days later the infanta entered the city by London 
Bridge, riding on a large mule, according to the Spanish 
custom. The Duke of York rode on her right and the 
pope's ambassador on her left. She had on a broad, round 
hat, the shape of those worn by cardinals, tied down at the 
sides with a scarf of gold lace. Under this hat was a closely- 
fitting red cap, and her long dark h^r streamed over her 
shoulders. Her four Spanish damsels followed on mules, 
each led by an English lady, dressed in cloth of gold and 
ridin'- on' a small horse. After these came the whole grand 
procession, and all advanced to Bishop's Palace. 

[A.D. 1 501.] Four days later the marriage ceremony 
was performed at St. Paul's Cathedral, on a platform six 
feet high and large enough to hold eight persons. The 


The Queens of England. 

bride, who never entirely gave up her Spanish style of dress, 
wore a closely-fitting cap of white silk, from which hung the 
Spanish mantilla, embroidered with gold, pearls and pre- 
cious stones, that almost concealed her figure. Her body 
and sleeves were made very full, and she wore a large hoop 
under her skirts. 

Prince Arthur was dressed in white satin. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury and nineteen bishops and abbots 


were present at the ceremony. The king and queen sat in 
a box that had been built for their use near the platform. 
After the ceremony the bride and bridegroom followed the 
churchmen to the high altar, where mass was celebrated. 
Standing in the great doorway of the cathedral, Prince 
Arthur endowed his bride with one-third of his property. 
The princess was then led by her brother-in-law, young 
Henry, to the Bishop's Palace of St. Paul's, where a ban- 
quet was spread. The newly-wedded couple were served 

1 50I . Katharine of A rragon. 351 

on gold plate, ornamented with pearls and precious stones, 
valued at twenty thousand pounds. 

The following week a grand tournament was held in the 
open space in front of Westminster Hall. There was a 
stage erected for the royal party. On the right entered the 
king and his lords ; on the left, the queen, the bride, and 
their ladies, and took their seats on richly embroidered 
cushions, under a canopy draped with cloth of gold. The 
places, that were arranged one above another, in rows like 
those in a circus, to form an enormous circle, were so 
packed with people that only their heads could be seen. 
Presently loud blasts from the trumpets announced the 
arrival of the knights, who were borne into the arena under 
fanciful canopies. The Earl of Essex sat in a pavilion 
among trees, flowers, and rocks, with curious-looking ani- 
mals climbing up the sides. A handsome young lady, fan- 
tastically dressed, stood on a green hill above the earl. 
The Marquis of Dorset appeared in a pavilion all draped 
in gold, wearing a complete suit of armor. Lord William 
Courtenay rode an enormous red dragon, led by a giant 
carrying a tree in his hands. There were twenty or thirty 
in all of these curiously-adorned knights, who marched 
around the arena to the delight of the audience, and then 
engaged in a tilt that caused many a bruise and scratch, 
but no serious damage to anybody. 

When evening came on the royal company withdrew to 
Westminster Hall. At the upper end was a dais with 
elevated seats for the king, queen, the bride and groom, 
and the king's mother. All the ladies sat on the left side 
and the gentlemen on the right, and the nobility, who were 
not engaged in the performance or ballets that followed, 
took their places on the king's side of the hall according 
to their rank. When a couple desired to dance between the 
entrances of the regular performers, the gentleman would 

352 The Queens of England. 

advance to the front of the dais from his side, the lady 
would do the same from hers, and after a few minutes' 
dancing return to their respective places. The first pageant 
was a full-rigged ship drawn in on wheels. The mariners 
performed their duties as though they were really at sea, 
and used only seafaring terms. Next came a castle all 
lighted up inside, eight young women appearing at the 
windows handsomely attired in the newest styles. At the 
top window of the castle sat a lady in Spanish costume 
representing Katharine of Arragon. The princess must 
have been amused when she saw her double, who sat up 
quite haughtily, while two gentlemen courted her and sought 
in every possible way to gain her favor. For a while she 
treated their attentions with disdain, but at last, as in all 
ballets, matters took a favorable turn ; the ladies came out 
of the castle, were joined by the sailors from the ship, and 
the whole party danced a grand set of exceedingly pretty 
figures, and then disappeared into the castle again. This 
structure was drawn by marvellous gold and silver lions 
harnessed with massive gold chains. But we must explain 
what these beasts really were. In each one were two men, 
one in the fore and the other in the hind quarters, so com- 
pletely hidden that nothing appeared of them but their legs. 
whJrh were made to look like those of the real lions. Then 
Prince Arthur danced with his aunt, the Princess Cicely, 
Henry, Duke of York, with his sister Margaret, and 
Katharine with one of her Spanish ladies. There wa» 
considerable difference in the two styles of dancing, for the 
English movements were quick and lively, while those of 
the Spanish were slow and stately, resembling a minuet. 
The king and queen were much pleased with these per- 
formances of their children, and watched them with a 
great deal of pride. 

At a grand dinner given in Parliament Chamber on the 


Katharine of Arragon. 


following Sunday, Katharine distributed the prizes won in 
the tilt. To the Duke of Buckingham she gave a valuable 
diamond ; to the Marquis of Dorset, a superb ruby, and to 
the others, rings set with precious stones. 

A week later the court went to Richmond, where, after 


mass on the first Sunday, they all assembled in the gardens 
and played games of chess, backgammon, cards, and dice, 
while some Spaniards entertained them with tumbling and 
dancing. In the evening a huge rock was drawn by three 
sea-horses into the grand hall, where the ladies and gentle- 
men were assembled. On either side of the rock were mer- 
maids made of shells, and inside of the figures were the 

356 The Qjieens of England. 

sweet-voiced children who sang in the king's chapel. These 
could not be seen, but their harmony filled the air as the 
rock was drawn slowly through the whole length of the hall. 
When it reached the platform on which sat the royal family, 
a large number of white doves flew out, and live rabbits ran 
about the hall, causing great shouting and merriment. 
King Henry closed the entertainment by making rich gifts 
of plate to the lords and ladies from Spain, who then took 
leave of their princess, as they were going back home. 

Katharine looked very sad after they had left her, and 
the king observing this sent word for her and her ladies to 
join him in his library. There he showed them all the pretty 
English and Latin books that he thought would please them, 
laughed and chatted in a kind friendly manner with his 
daughter-in-law, and then asked her to select some jewels 
from a lot that he had ordered for her. After she had made 
her choice, he distributed the rest among her ladies, and so 
won Katharine's heart by his warm, affectionate treatment 
that she ceased to feel depressed in her English home. 

A few months later the princess went with her husband 
to Wales, where they were to have a little court of their own 
similar to the one at Westminster. Katharine performed 
the journey on horseback, and when she felt fatigued she 
rested on a litter, borne between two horses. This was 
the only mode of travelling before turnpike roads were 

The Prince and Princess of Wales made themselves very 
popular in their new home, but they did not stay there long, 
for Arthur was taken suddenly ill, and died of the plague 
the following April, 1502, just six months after his marriage. 

[A.D. 1502.] The queen was sorely grieved at the sud- 
den death of her eldest child, but she did not forget to 
sympathize with the young widow left alone in a strange 
land, the language of which had hardly become familiar to 

I502. Katharine of Arragon. 357 

her ear. She sent for her immediately, and had her brought 
to London in a litter covered with black velvet and black 
cloth that must have looked very like a hearse, and settled 
her in a palace called Arragon House, where she spent 
part of her widowhood. Her marriage portion consisted 
of two hundred thousand crowns. Half the sum had been 
paid, and her parents being unwilling to pay the other half, 
requested that their daughter should be returned to them. 
But Henry VII. wanted to get hold of the other half of his 
daughter-in-law's portion, he therefore proposed a marriage 
between her and his younger son Henry. This was ac- 
cepted by the sovereigns of Spain, providing a dispensation 
from the pope could be obtained. This was necessary on 
account of the relationship. 

Katharine seems to have been very unhappy at this time, 
and wrote her father that she had no desire to marry ag%in, 
adding, " that she did not wish him to consider her tastes 
or wishes, but to act in all things as suited him best." 

Such dutiful conduct excites our surprise when we con- 
sider that she was the principal person concerned. It seems 
quite natural that at the age of eighteen she should have 
objected to a union with a boy five years younger, even 
though he had not been so nearly related to her. 

Notwithstanding her objections, two such diplomatists as 
King Ferdinand and Henry VII. were pretty sure to 
arrange matters to suit themselves, and about a year after 
Katharine became a widow, she was betrothed to the young 
prince. Six years elapsed before the marriage was 
celebrated, during which period Henry VII. died, and his 
son Henry ascended the throne. Immediately after this 
event he assured the Spanish ambassador of his attachment 
to Katharine, saying that he loved her better than any other 
woman in the world. 

There was a great deal of discussion among the church- 

358 The Queens of England. 

men on account of the relationship existing between Henry 
and Katharine, but at last all difficulties were overcome 
and they were married. A few days later the coronation 
took place at Westminster. 

[A.D. 15 lo.] On this occasion the streets of London 
were as usual all decorated, and part of the way to the 
abbey was lined with young maidens dressed in pure white, 
bearing palms of white wax in their hands. They were 
attended by priests swinging silver censers as the king and 
queen passed by. Katharine was attired as a bride in 
white embroidered satin-, her dark hair fell in rich pro- 
fusion down her back, and on her head she wore a crown 
set with rich jewels. She was seated in a litter covered 
with white cloth of gold, borne by two white horses, and 
was followed by all the noble ladies of England in little 
ch^ots. After the coronation a grand banquet was spread 
in Westminster Hall. The king and queen were served on 
an elevated platform at the upper end of the hall, while 
several ladies of high rank sat at Katharine's feet holding 
her pocket-handkerchief, table-napkin, fan and purse. At 
the end of a week the festivities came suddenly to an end 
on account of the death of the king's grandmother. Then 
a pestilence broke out in London, and" the court removed 
to Richmond Place, where Henry planned all sorts of per- 
formances, parties and masquerades, in which he enjoyed 
taking part. Katharine did not care so much for that kind 
of diversion, for she was naturally quiet and studious, and 
felt more interested in practical employment. 

At one of the Christmas festivals the king slyly left her 
side during the progress of a tournament, and returned in 
the disguise of a knight, astonishing all the company with 
the grace and skill of his tilting. The applause he received 
induced him to take part often in these exercises, and when 
he would present himself before his wife in diiferent 


Katharine of Arragon. 


disguises she good-humoredly pretended to be very much 
mystified. Once he entered her room with several nobles 
dressed as Robin Hood and his men, and another time 
when the foreign ambassadors were invited to dine at court 
Henry conducted his wife to her throne, then suddenly dis- 
appeared, and in a few minutes returned with the Earl 


of Essex, both disguised as Turks, while other nobles 
followed him in Russian, Persian and Moorish costumes, 
the last having their faces blacked. The king's beautiful 
sister, Mary, with several of the court ladies, danced a bal- 
let in mask, which amused Katharine very much, particu- 
larly as the princess was attired like an Ethiopian queen. 
In all the decorations used on these occasions the pome- 
granate was mingled with the roses of York and Lancaster, 
and the Tudor device of the hawthorn with its scarlet 

At the close of the year 1 510 the queen had a little boy, 

360 The Queens of England. 

and he was named Henr}'. The king was so much pleased 
at this event that a grand tournament was given to cele- 
brate it. In the evening a nobleman came to inform the 
queen that there was a gold arbor full of ladies who 
had prepared something for her entertainment. Katharine 
answered very graciously "that both she and her ladies 
would be happy to behold them and their pastimes." 
Then a large curtain was drawn aside, and an arbor moved 
forward. It had posts and pillars covered with gold and 
tvi'ined with branches of hawthorn, roses and eglantine, all 
made of satin and silk, the colors of the different flowers. 
In the arbor were six beautiful young girls in white and 
green satin dresses, covered with the letters H. and K. knit 
together with gold lacing. Near the bower stood the king 
himself, with five lords dressed in purple satin, likewise 
covered with the gold letters H. and K. Then they 
all danced before Katharine, and while they were thus 
engaged a very different scene was going on at the other 
end of the hall. The golden arbor that the ladies left 
for the dance had been rolled back close to where a large 
crowd of Londoners had gathered to see the grand doings 
at court, as they always did in those days. They began to 
finger the ornaments, and finally to pluck them off until 
they had entirely stripped the bower. The chief steward 
tried to prevent this destruction, but not wishing to disturb 
the ballet by using violence he failed entirely. Meanwhile 
the king finished his performance, and feeling in an excel- 
lent humor at its success he called to the women in the 
crowd to come and help themselves to the golden letters 
from his dress and that of his company. Little did he im- 
agine what would be the result of this order, for scarcely 
was it given than the whole assembly rushed forward like a 
mob, and seized not only on him but all his guests, helping 
themselves to every glittering ornament that was in sight. 

1514- Katharine of Arragon. 361 

They even went so far as to take the jewels of the ladies, 
and to strip the king of most of his fine clothing. One of 
the gentlemen was left with nothing on but his flannels. It 
was amazing what a clean sweep was made in a few 
minutes of all the finery. At last the guards succeeded in 
clearing the hall without bloodshed, and the king laughing 
heartily handed his wife to the banquet in his own chamber, 
where the court sat down in their tattered condition, treat- 
ing the whole scramble as a frolic. No doubt the young 
king had received a lesson by which he profited later. 
A few weeks after his birth the young prince died, much 
lamented by everybody at court. 

The following year Henry invaded France in person, 
leaving the queen not only with the reins of government 
in her own hands, but making her besides captain of all his 
forces, with the assistance of five nobles. During the 
king's absence the Scots invaded his kingdom, but were re- 
pulsed. It is remarkable that two of the greatest victories 
gained over that nation were those of Neville's Cross and 
Flodden Field, both fought under the management of 
queens in the absence of their husbands. 

After the battle at Neville's Cross Katharine went on a 
pilgrimage to Walsingham shrine, and returned just in time 
to welcome her husband, who took her by surprise at 
Richmond, where there was a most loving meeting between 
the royal couple. He had travelled through his realm in 
disguise, therefore the queen had not been informed that 
he was coming so soon. 

[A.D. 15 14.] Henry had been victorious in France, and 
the war ended there by the marriage of his beautiful young 
sister Mary and Louis XII. Anne Boleyn, who was then 
a young girl, went with the bride as her attendant. 

Mary was in love with the Duke of Suffolk when she was 
forced into this marriage with the King of France. In less 

362 TJic Queens of England. 

than three months the young husband died, and then the 
duke, who was sent to France to take care of the widow 
and her property, married her. Henry VIII. was very 
angry at first at the sly way in which this love-affair had 
been managed, but Katharine made peace between the 
brother and sister, and invited the young couple to Green- 
wich Palace, where she entertained them with a grand 

On the first of May the king gave a party, which was 
conducted in this way : Katharine, with the young bride 
and all the court ladies, rode from the palace to Shooter's 
Hill, where the king, with the archers of his body-guard, met 
them, dressed like Robin Hood and his outlaws, and begged 
that the royal party " would enter the good greenwood and 
see how outlaws lived." 

Katharine graciously consented, and was led to a rustic 
bower, covered with hawthorn boughs and spring flowers, 
where a fine breakfast of venison and other good things 
was laid out. This lodge in the wilderness delighted all 
the ladies, and a couple of hours were very pleasantly 
passed in eating and chatting. On their return to Green- 
wich they were met by a car, all decorated with natural 
flowers and ribbons, and drawn by five horses. Each horse 
was ridden by a fair damsel, dressed in gay colors, and in 
the car, amidst garlands of flowers, stood lady May, 
attended by the goddess Flora. As soon as the queen 
appeared at the foot of the hill these young girls began a 
hymn about the return of spring, and preceded the royal 
party all the way home, singing as they moved along. 

[A.D. 1520.] Queen Katharine had two royal visitors at 
her palace. One was Queen Margaret, widow of James 
IV. of Scotland, who took refuge with Henry VIII. from 
the troubles in her own country ; the other was her nephew, 
who afterwards became so illustrious as the Emperor 

iSio. Katharine of Arragon. 365 

Charles V. The latter spent several days with his aunt, 
who entertained him royally, then proceeded with the Eng- 
lish Court to that congress with the King and Queen of 
France known on account of its splendor as the Field of 
the Cloth of Gold. At that meeting the carpet beneath 
Katharine's throne was all embroidered in pearls, and the 
decorations of the camp were of corresponding magnifi- 

At that time Katharine formed a warm friendship for 
Queen Claude of France, surnamed the Good, a lady of 
superior intellect and taste. Henry and King Francis also 
became very much attached to each other, though that did 
not prevent their fighting when an opportunity offered. 

When Charles V. parted from his Aunt Katharine she 
presented him with a beautiful English horse, and a saddle- 
cloth, of gold tissue, bordered with precious stones. On 
his return home, he often spoke of Katharine's happiness 
in having married so grand a prince as Henry VHI. 

While Queen Katharine was in power several improve- 
ments were made in England, particularly in the cultivation 
of fruit and flowers. During the wars some of the finest 
trees had disappeared entirely, but Katharine had them 
replanted, as well as salad, cabbage and carrots, which she 
imported for that purpose from the Holland. 

An old rhyme says : — 

" Hops and turkeys, carps and beer, 
Came to England all in one year." 

We cannot help wondering why hops were cultivated, 
because Henry VHI., who interfered in all the most trifling 
concerns of his subjects, forbade them to put hops in their 
ale. The turkeys were brought from North America by a 
lieutenant in Sebastian Cabot's voyage of discovery. 

Before giving an account of Katharine's wrongs and 

366 The Queens of England. 

sufferings, which began after she had been married about 
ten years, let us see how both she and King Henry VIII. 
are described by people who lived in their time, 

Sebastiano Giustiniani, an Italian who lived in England, 
says, writing in 1519 : — 

" His majesty is about twenty-nine years of age, as hand- 
some as nature could form him, — handsomer by far than 
the King of France. He is exceedingly fair, and as well- 
proportioned as possible. When he heard that the King 
of France wore a beard he allowed his to grow also, which, 
being somewhat red, has the appearance of being of gold. 
He is an excellent musician and composer, an admirable 
horseman and wrestler. He possesses a good knowledge 
of the French, Latin, and Spanish languages, and is very 
devout. On the days when he goes hunting he hears mass 
three times, but on other days as often as five times. He 
has vesper service every day in the queen's chamber. He 
is uncommonly fond of the chase, and every time he attends 
one he tires out eight or ten horses, stationed at different 
places where he proposes to stop. When one is fatigued 
he mounts another, and by the time he returns home they 
are all used up. He takes great delight in bowling, and it 
is the pleasantest sight in the world to see him engaged in 
this exercise with his fair skin covered with a beautifully 
fine shirt. Affable and benign, he offends none, and has 
often said to his ambassadors that he wished every one were 
as content with his condition as he was." 

Katharine was then about thirty-four, but looked no older 
than her husband, because he was a robust, burly man, while 
she had a slender, stately figure. Her face was oval, fea- 
tures regular, with a sweet, calm look, though rather heavy. 
Her forehead was unusually high, and she had large, dark 
eyes, and a bright brunette complexion. She usually wore 
a five-cornered cap, bordered with rich gems, that stood up 

1520. Katharine of Arragoft. 367 

around her head like a crown, and came down the sides 
of her face, covering the ears. From this cap hung the 
black Spanish mantilla, and around her throat, waist and 
wrists were clusters of rubies, linked together with strings 
of pearls, pendants of the same from the belt, reaching 
almost to her feet. In one of her portraits she is repre- 
sented in a robe of dark-blue velvet, with a long train, 
bordered with sable fur, straight sleeves, with ruffles 
around the hand, loose hanging sleeves over them, and a 
petticoat of gold-colored satin, that shows beneath the vel- 
vet dress, raised on one side. 

Katharine was very pious, self-denying, and almost a 
nun in her performance of religious duties. She would 
rise at different times of the night for prayers, and always 
dressed for the day at five o'^clock in the morning. She 
wore the habit of the St. Francis order of nuns beneath her 
royal robes, and unlike the ladies of the present day, she 
was often heard to say that she considered no part of her 
time so much wasted as that passed in dressing and adorn- 
ing herself. 

She fasted on Fridays and Saturdays and on all the 
saints' days, confessed every week, and received the 
Eucharist every Sunday. For two hours after dinner one 
of her attendants read books on religion to her. 

Notwithstanding this devotion Katharine enjoyed lively 
conversation, and often invited Sir Thomas More, whose 
society gave her great pleasure, to her private suppers with 
the king. She was fond of needle-work also, and left some 
rich specimens of her skill, that were for a long time pre- 
served in the Tower. 

Although she took great interest in all English customs, 
and tried to make her subjects forget that she was a for- 
eigner, she never could fancy field-sports, though Henry 
expressed great displeasure because she would not mount 


The Queens of England. 

a horse and hunt as Englishwomen did. For his sake she 
pretended to like games, though she really had little taste 
in that direction. Even after her misfortunes began, the 
great Erasmus said to Henry : " Your noble wife spends 
the time reading the sacred volume which other princesses 
occupy with cards and dice." That renowned scholar 
always held her up as an example to her sex, and dedicated 
a very important work to her, called " Christian Matri- 


Cardinal Wolsey occupied a prominent position in Eng- 
land at this time, and he was a very good friend to Katharine 
until she felt compelled to express her opinion of a certain 
bad action of his, which was brought about in this way : 
One day the Duke of Buckingham was holding the basin 
for the king to wash his hands when the cardinal poked 
his in also. The duke became very indignant at such 
presumption, for he considered it beneath his dignity to 
perform such an office for anybody but his sovereign ; he 
therefore flung the water all over the cardinal's feet, where- 
upon that worthy prelate scowled revengefully, and angrily 

IS20. Katharine of Arragon. 369 

threatened punishment. He carried it into effect, and suc- 
ceeded in causing the execution of the duke on a charge 
of treasonable sorcery. 

Buckingham had been one of Katharine's earUest friends 
in England, and she could not help remonstrating against 
the injustice of his sentence. She even pleaded for him 
with the king, but failed. Wolsey's opposition was too 
strong, so Katharine revenged herself by openly censuring 
his cruel conduct, for which he never forgave her. 

The next year Charles V. visited his aunt again at Green- 
wich Palace. He came really for the purpose of urging 
the king to make war against France, though he pretended 
that it was to engage himself to his little cousin, Princess 
Mary, then only six years old. 

Queen Katharine met him at the hall-door, with her 
daughter by her side, and blessed him as he kneeled down 
before her. He stayed in England six weeks, and the 
result of his visit was more fighting in France. 

Then Anne Boleyn returned home, and was appointed 
maid of honor to Queen Katharine. She was a great 
beauty, and such a belle at court that unhappily Henry fell 
in love with her. But he did not make his feelings known 
just then because the queen's health was very bad, and no 
doubt he flattered himself that she might accommodate 
him by dying, and thus spare him the trouble of a divorce. 
However she grew better, and then, with Wolsey's assist- 
ance, Henry began to make plans for ridding himself of 
her. His first step was to complain to his confessor that 
his conscience troubled him for having married his brother's 
widow, but it seems strange that that inward monitor had 
been silent for so many years. He set spies to watch 
Katharine's actions, hoping, no doubt, that something might 
be discovered to help his cause ; but he was disappointed, 
and the queen was secretly informed of his intentions. 

3 TO The Queens of England. 

Naturally she was very indignant, and wanted to consult 
her nephew, Charles V., as to what she ought to do. For 
that purpose she sent a faithful servant, but he was stopped 
on the way by one of Wolsey's agents. 

She then expressed her intention of going to law about 
the matter, and consulted her confessor, hoping that it 
would be laid before the church. The poor, friendless 
woman might have known that she could scarcely look for 
justice in a land not her own against a popular sovereign 
and his all-powerful adviser. She had an interview with 
her husband, but he put her off with deceitful excuses and 
fah- promises, and she was forced to await patiently what- 
ever his pleasure might prompt. 

In the meantime a pestilence broke out in London, and 
several of the royal household died of it. This so alarmed 
Henry that he made thirty-nine wills, confessed his sins 
every day, and passed most of his time in penitence and 
prayer, his only recreation being the mixing of medicines 
and the compounding of plasters and ointments. He even 
sent Anne Boleyn home to her relations. But no sooner 
did the pestilence disappear than his jovial spirits returned, 
and he began to write daily love-letters to his favorite. 
Wolsey, to aid the king's divorce, had made the pope 
believe that Katharine wished to retire from the world and 
lead a religious life, and it is possible that he thought she 
might be persuaded to do so. 

[A.D. 1528.] She did not know of this deception until 
Campeggio, the pope's legate, arrived in England in 1528. 
Then, in order to disprove it, she adopted a different course 
of conduct, became gay and lively, and encouraged all 
sorts of diversions among her court ladies. She tried to 
make herself popular with her subjects, too, by being more 
gracious than before, and appearing oftener in public. 
This behavior was turned against her by the king's council. 

1528. Katharine of Arragon. 37 1 

who were told that the queen was only gay because her 
husband was sad, and that she was conspiring for his death 
and that of his cardinal. Thereupon they advised Henry 
to separate himself from her entirely, and to remove the 
Princess Mary from her guardianship. This piece of 
malice was a sting bitterer than death. 

Katharine knew that Wolsey was her chief persecutor, 
and did not hesitate to charge him with all her troubles as 
well as with being an enemy to her nephew, Charles V. 

That emperor was very much distressed when he heard 
of the turn affairs had taken, and declared that if the pope 
decided against his aunt he would not complain, but if not, 
he would support her and her daughter as far as possible. 

In May, 1 5 29, there was a solemn court held in the great 
hall of the palace at Blackfriars, Wolsey and Campeggio 
presiding. Each of the prelates was seated in a large 
chair, covered with rich tapestry, near a long table. On 
the right was a canopy with a massive chair for the king, 
and on the left a similar one for the queen. Henry did 
not appear at first, but Katharine entered the hall, attended 
by four bishops and a train of court ladies, to say that she 
would only accept the decision of the pope, because the 
cardinals who were present were too prejudiced to be just. 
She then left. 

After several weeks of discussion the king and queen 
were both summoned to appear in court. When the 
crier called : " Henry, King of England, come into court," 
he answered distinctly, and standing up beneath his 
canopy, spoke of the virtues of his wife and of his 
unwillingness to part from her, excepting to soothe the 
pangs of his conscience. Then Katharine was called. 
She was already present, seated in her chair, and merely 
rose to explain that the action of the court was illegal, 
stating reasons why such was the case. 

3/2 The Queens of England. 

Her name was called again. Then she rose a second 
time, and walked around the table the whole length of the 
court, until she came to where the king sat. Kneeling 
down before him, she made a most touching appeal, 
begging him to take compassion on her, a stranger in his 
land, and let her have some justice. She also requested 
him to suspend the trial until she could hear from her 
family in Spain and get their advice. 

After she had finished her long address to the king, she 
made a low bow, and with a dignified air slowly marched 
out of court. As she moved away, her name was called 
several times, whereupon the person on whose arm she 
leaned said : " Madam, you are called back." " I hear it 
well enough," she replied; "but on — on — go you on, for 
this is no court wherein I can have justice." 

Her appeal to the king had made such an impression on 
all present that he made a long speech, lamenting " that 
his conscience should urge the divorce of such a queen 
who had ever been a devoted wife, full of gentleness and 
virtue." The members of his council knew well that he 
was not speaking the truth, but they did not dare to tell 
him so. As Cardinal Wolsey was still a favorite, the king 
closed his harangue by an assurance that he was in no way 
to blame for the desired divorce. 

A week later Katharine was summoned to court again, 
but refused to obey, and with her own hand wrote an 
appeal to the pope. The cardinals had done all they 
could think of to get the queen to consent to a divorce, 
and being at a loss how to proceed, they took a v-acation 
of three months. At the expiration of that term the two 
cardinals went to Bridewell, and requested a private 
interview with Katharine. She received them courteously, 
impressed upon them her forlorn situation in a foreign land, 
deprived of counsel, and told them that she would be 


Katharine of Arragon. 


grateful if they would advise her how to act. She then 
withdrew with them to a private room, where they remained 
for nearly an hour in earnest conversation. She must have 
argued her case well, for both the cardinals were won over 
to her side, and would never say another word against her. 
This was the only cause for offence that King Henry ever 
had against Wolsey, who ceased, from that moment, to be 
his favorite. 

wolsey's tower. 

When the court met again, the king was very angry to 
hear that the question of his divorce must be referred to 
the pope. He wanted it settled in his way and in England. 
Shortly after, Wolsey had an interview with the king, 
which proved his last. 

The king and queen passed Christmas together at 
Greenwich with the usual festivities, and seemed to be on 
very good terms, he treating the Princess Mary very tenderly, 
and showing Katharine the respect due the Queen of Eng- 

Henry had an object in this ; he wanted his wife to with- 
draw her appeal from Rome, and let the matter be decided 

374 ^'^^ Queens of England. 

in England, but she refused. Then he got angry, put a 
sudden stop to the court diversions, and retired to the 
palace at Whitehall that he had just taken from Wolsey. 

Later, he sent a message to the queen entreating her to 
" quiet his conscience." She replied : " God grant my 
husband a quiet conscience ; but I mean to abide by no 
decision excepting that of Rome." 

This answer put the king in a perfect fury. After the 
festival of Trinity he accompanied the queen to Windsor, 
but left in a few days, and sent her word to be out of the 
castle before his return. " Go where I may," was the 
reply of the forsaken queen, " I am his wife, and for him I 
will pray ! " She immediately left Windsor Castle, and 
never again beheld her husband or child. She went to 
reside at Ampthill, whence she wrote her daughter letters 
full of most excellent advice, always praying her to submit 
to her father's will. Her reason for this was that she 
wished the child to keep in the king's good graces, knowing 
that he would some time or other acknowledge her rights. 
Once, on hearing of Mary's illness, Katharine wrote to 
Cromwell for permission to see her, but was cruelly 

Finding at last that the decision at Rome was likely to 
be against him, the king induced Dr. Cranmer, who had 
just been made Archbishop of Canterbury, to conclude the 
long agitated question of the divorce by granting it. At 
the commencement of the following year he married Anne 
Boleyn, and there were insurrections raised in many parts 
of the kingdom on account of it. 

Had Queen Katharine not been such a good woman she 
might have given the king a great deal of trouble by head- 
ing a party against him, particularly as the House of Com- 
mons had requested him to take her back. At the end of 
several months Cranmer succeeded in getting the divorce 

1538. Katharine of Arragon. 375 

settled ; but the sorrow and anxiety that poor Katharine 
had suffered had~broken down her health, so that when 
Lord Montjoy went to inform her that she was no longer 
Queen of England, but dowager Princess of Wales, he 
found her very ill in bed. She declared that she had been 
crowned and anointed queen, and would be called by that 
title as long as she lived, and no bribes or threats would 
move her in the least. She forbade her servants to take 
an oath to serve her as Princess of Wales, and many of 
them were obliged to quit her service because they would 
not disobey her. Those who remained were excused from 
taking the oath at all. 

Katharine always judged her rival in the most charitable 
light, and seemed to think her an object of pity. Once 
when one of her women cursed Anne Boleyn, because she 
saw how troubled her mistress was, Katharine said : " Hold 
your peace ! curse her not, but rather pray for her, for even 
now is the time fast coming when you shall have reason to 
pity her and lament her case." 

Katharine had removed to Buckden, where she passed 
her time in praying and deeds of charity, or embroidering 
for the churches. After a while she regained her peace of 
mind, and made herself greatly beloved by the country 
people, who visited her frequently, and showed her the 
deepest respect. Other messengers were sent to her from 
Henr}', requesting her to call herself Prince Arthur's 
widow, and to resign the title of queen. This made her 
very angry, and she declared that she was the king's wife, 
not his subject, and would be called queen until she died. 
She was the only person in the realm who dared to defy 
the king; she had lost his love, but not his esteem. Any- 
body at court who was known to speak in Katharine's 
favor was either locked up in the Tower or executed, and a 
perfect reign of terror was the result. When she heard 

3/6 The Queens of England. 

how her friends had suffered on her account her health 
grew worse, and as she was anxious to live for the sake oi 
her daughter she sent a request to the king to appoint her 
a residence nearer London. He named Fotheringay 
Castle, a place that was notoriously unhealthy. But Kath. 
arine absolutely refused to go there, and after a great deal 
of opposition on the part of the king's agents she was 
removed to Kimbolton Castle, deprived of many comforts 
that her ill-health made necessary for her. One serious 
cause of distress to Katharine was the imprisonment of her 
two confessors, who, simply because they took sides with 
her, were subjected to the most cruel torments. 

[A.D. 1536.] By the end of the year the queen was on 
her death-bed. When she knew her end was approaching 
she sent an entreaty to Henry that she might be permitted 
to see her child and give her a blessing. It was refused. 
A few days before she expired Katharine called one of her 
maids to her bedside and, dictated a farewell letter to the 
king, in which she pardons him for all the misery he 
has caused her, and prays that God may also pardon him. 
She commends their daughter Mary to his care, and begs 
him to be a good father to her. And in conclusion she re- 
quests marriage portions for her three maids, and a year's 
extra pay for all her other servants lest they should be un' 
provided for. Henry shed tears on reading the letter, and 
sent Eustachio, the Spanish ambassador, to attend Katha- 
rine's death-bed. He and Lady Willoughby, the friend and 
countrywoman of the queen, who hastened to her at the 
last, were the only persons present when she passed away. 
In her will she left a few legacies, but her income had been 
so cut down during the last few years of her existence that 
she had not much to dispose of. She mentions her dresses 
that Henry kept when she was so brutally turned away 
from his palace, and begs that they be used for church 

1536. Katharine of Arragon. 377 

ornaments. She was buried at Peterborough Abbey, and 
for several years a canopy covered with a black velvet 
cloth, on which was embroidered a large silver cross and 
the Spanish coat-of-arms, stood over the grave. 

Henry had a solemn service at Greenwich on the day of 
Katharine's burial, at which he appeared with his attend- 
ants in deep mourning, and commanded all his court to do 
the same. Anne Boleyn dressed herself and all her ladies 
in yellow instead, and heartlessly laughed over the death 
of the queen. "I am grieved," she said, "not because 
she is dead, but for the vaunting of the good end she 
made." She had reason to speak so, for nothing was 
talked of but the Christian death-bed of Katharine, and 
many books and papers were written in her praise. 

A short time after her burial some of her friends ventured 
to suggest to the king that a monument ought to be erected 
to her memory. He answered : " That he would have to 
her memory one of the goodliest monuments in Christen- 
dom." This was the beautiful abbey church of Peter- 
borough, for when Henry VIII. caused the destruction of 
all the convents and monasteries in England he spared that 
one because it contained Queen Katharine's remains. 
Through all her bitter trials no enemy was successful in 
tarnishing Katharine of Arragon's good name, but Shak- 
speare is the only writer who has properly appreciated her 
moral worth. 



(A.D. 1501-1536.) 

Anne Boleyn was one of the beauties of the court of 
Katharine of Arragon, and was particularly attractive to 
the king on account of her wit and her fondness for pa- 
geants and masquerades, in which she took a leading part. 
Henry performed at these entertainments, also ; thus these 
two were often thrown together, and the lady's vanity and 
ambition were flattered by the attentions he paid her. 

She was an Englishwoman by birth, though of French 
descent on her father's side. Her mother died when she 
was only eleven years old, and she was taken charge of by 
a French governess called Simonette. She was carefully 
educated, and excelled in music and needlework. Besides, 
she wrote both French and English letters to her father 
when he was away, and that was an accomplishment very 
rare among ladies of the reign of Henry VHI. 

[A. D. 15 14.] It was probably on account of her superior 
knowledge that she was selected to go with the young 
Princess Mary to France when she married Louis XII., and 
her knowledge of the language must have been of great ser- 
vice to the young girl, who could speak only English. They 
had a very stormy voyage to Boulogne, and had to go ashore 
in little boats at the risk of their lives. It was rather trying 
to the Princess Mary and her four maids of honor to have 
to appear in their drenched garments before all the French 
nobles who had assembled on the beach to receive them. 


1 5 14- Katharine of Arragon. 381 

But they soon had a chance of showing off their beauty to 
advantage, for when within four miles of Abbeville they 
mounted white horses, and with thirty other ladies who 
joined the procession, rode into the town. Mary wore a 
superb embroidered robe, and her ladies' dresses were of 
crimson velvet, which must have been particularly becoming 
to the warm, brunette complexion and sparkling black eyes 
of Anne Boleyn. 

When the King of France died, and Mary went back to 
England, Anne did not accompany her, but entered the 
service of Queen Claude, wife of Francis I. 

This queen was a most excellent woman, and exercised 
a wholesome influence over her maids of honor. They went 
regularly with her to mass, attended her when she appeared 
in public, and spent part of every day in her society reading, 
embroidering, and weaving. The strict rules of this sober- 
minded queen were rather irksome to the lively English 
maid of honor, for she was fond of all sorts of games, 
music, and dancing, and is said to have invented many new 
figures and steps which she performed with much grace 
and agility. Another of her gifts was a remarkably sweet 
voice, both in singing and speaking. While at the French 
court her costume was a cap of velvet, trimmed in points, 
a little gold bell hanging from each point; a vest of the 
same material with silver stars, a jacket of watered silk with 
large hanging sleeves that almost concealed her hands, and 
a skirt to match. Her feet were encased in blue velvet 
slippers, with a strap across the instep, fastened with a dia- 
mond star. Her hair fell in ringlets about her shoulders. 
Of course she dressed in this manner only when she was very 
young ; later, when she lived in England, her costumes were 
very different. She had one serious defect which, however, 
she managed to conceal with her long sleeves. It was a 
deformity of the little finger of the left hand which some 
chroniclers say was divided and formed two fingers. 

382 The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1522.] She was about twenty years old when 
she returned to England and attached herself to the house- 
hold of Katharine. 

The maids of honor dined at mess in those days like 
officers of the army or navy of the present time, and were 
plentifully served with all the good food the markets 
afforded, besides an ample supply of ale and wine. Each 
maid of honor was allowed a servant and a spaniel, and 
those who were daughters of peers could have stabling for 
horses and carriages besides. 

There was a young man at court named Lord Henry 
Percy, the eldest son of the Duke of Northumberland, 
whose duty it was to attend Cardinal Wolsey to the palace 
daily ; but while that prelate held council with the king, 
Lord Henry would pass the time with the court ladies. 
The result of these visits was a love affair between him 
and the fair Anne Boleyn. But the king had made up his 
mind to marry the young maid of honor himself as soon as 
he could get a divorce from his wife, consequently he com- 
plained to the cardinal, and told him that he must break 
off the match at once, because he had planned a marriage 
for Anne with another person. The cardinal sent for Percy 
and took him to task for thinking to unite himself to any- 
body without first consulting his father and the king. The 
young man expressed his regret at having displeased the 
king, but declared that he could not give up his lady-love. 
Thereupon Wolsey swore that he should be forced to do so, 
adding : " I will send for your father out of the North, and 
he and we shall take this matter in hand ; in the meantime 
I charge thee to go no more into her company to arouse 
the king's indignation." With these words he arose and 
went into his own room. 

In answer to the king's summons the Earl of Northum- 
berland did appear with as little delay as possible. He was 

1522. Anne Boleyn. 383 

an extremely proud, cold, narrow-minded man, who wanted 
his son to marry a womaai at least his equal in rank and 
wealth ; therefore at the conclusion of his secret interview 
with the cardinal he rated Percy soundly, and applied to 
him the most abusive and insulting names he could think 
of. He finished his long lecture by telling him that he 
did not mean to make him his heir, because he had other 
boys who, he trusted, would prove wiser men, and he 
would choose one of them for his successor. 

Percy was then banished from court, and forced to 
marry Mary Talbot, a daughter of the Earl of Shrewsbury, 
with whom he was very unhappy. If only he had been 
strong enough to hold out in his love for Anne a little 
while longer he might have been spared a great deal of 
misery, for his father died in less than three years after 
his forced marriage, and he became Earl of Northumber- 

To punish Anne for loving Percy, the king banished 
her from court and sent her home to her father's house. 
She laid the whole blame on Wolsey, and was so angry 
with him as to declare she would be revenged on him. 
He could never gain favor with her after that. She lived 
at Hever Castle, with her father and stepmother, and was 
very unhappy on account of the great disappointment she 
had suffered. 

After a time the king made an unexpected visit at the 
castle, but Anne pretended to be ill, and would not leave 
her room all the time he was there. But the tyrant was 
bound to have everything to suit himself, so he began to 
draw her family to court by giving them important offices, 
and advanced her father to the peerage under the title of 
Viscount Rochford. Still Anne did not return, and the 
king wrote her several letters urging her to do so. She 
dared not show him how angry she was because he had 

384 The Queens of England. 

broken off her engagement with Percy, but she was treas- 
uring up a store of vengeance against the cardinal, who 
had been his tool, that she hoped some day to visit upon 
his head. She had been away from court just four years 
when she returned, and Wolsey's enemies were glad to 
be able to count on her influence to crush him. 

A short time after he was sent on an embassy to France, 
and it was during his absence that Anne gained a great 
deal of influence over the king. Ambition had entered 
her head, and seeing that Henry admired her, she deter- 
mined to share his throne as soon as his wife could be 
got out of the way. He had asked her to marry him, 
and only awaited the settlement of the divorce, which was 
a long and tedious affair. 

Anne Boleyn was soon living in Suffolk House, which 
the king had secured for her, and there she had a regular 
court of her own, with her ladies-in-waiting, her train-bearer, 
and her chaplains, quite independent of the queen. 

The first introduction of Tindal's translation of the 
Scriptures was made w^iile Anne was so powerful. Among 
her ladies was one called Mistress Gaynsford, who had a 
lover, also employed at Suffolk House, named George Zouch. 
One day the young lady was deeply interested in a book, 
from which she would not raise her eyes, even to speak to 
George, who tried several times to make her listen to him, 
At last he became very angry and snatched the book out of 
her hand. It proved to be the translation of Tindal, that 
had been privately presented by one of the Reformers to 
Anne Boleyn. Now, this work had been proscribed by 
Cardinal Wolsey, who was not in favor of any reforms in 
religion, and kept secret from the king. Mistress Gayns- 
ford knew this perfectly well, and was so frightened at 
being discovered with it that she begged and implored 
her lover to return it to her, but merely to tease her, 

1522. Anne Boleyn. 387 

he ran off with it. The next time he went to the 
King's chapel, with the other courtiers, he took it into his 
head to read the identical book he had taken from his lady- 
love, and became so absorbed in it that the service was 
concluded without his knowing it. The dean of the chapel 
wondered what George could be reading with so much 
interest, and asked to have a look at the volume. As soon 
as he saw what it was he carried it to Cardinal Wolsey. 
Meantime, Anne had asked for it, and when she heard into 
whose hands it had fallen, she said : " Well, it shall be the 
dearest book that ever dean or cardinal detained." Then 
she went to the king, and not only succeeded in persuading 
him to get the book back for her, but made him read it. 

This beautiful favorite continued to hate Cardinal Wol- 
sey more and more, and was determined that Henry should 
show him no favors if she could help it. Her mind was 
constantly busy laying plans to keep them apart, and to put 
the cardinal in an unfavorable light, though she used the 
most flattering terms both in speaking and writing to him. 
This deception she continued until he was won over to 
Queen Katharine's cause, when she declared her hostility 
openly, and she was a woman who would stop at nothing 
that would gratify her thirst for revenge. She was con- 
stantly poisoning the king's mind against him, yet the old 
friendship would crop out from time to time, and when the 
cardinal was seized with the pestilence Dr. Butts, the king's 
physician, was sent to attend him. 

" Have you seen yonder man ? " asked King Henry of 
the doctor. "Yes," was the reply; "and if you will have 
him dead, I warrant you that if he receive not some com- 
fort from you he will be dead within four days." 

" God forbid !" cried the king, " I would not lose him 
for twenty thousand pounds. I pray you go to him, and 
do you care for him." 


The Queens of England. 

"Then must your grace send him some comfortable 
message," said Dr. Butts. 

" Tell him that I am not offended with him in my heart 
for anything, and bid him be of good comfort," returned 
the king, handing the doctor a ruby ring with his own 
image carved thereon, and requesting him to carry it to the 
patient. He desired Anne Boleyn to send some token of 


regard also, and she handed the doctor a gold tablet that 
hung at her side, adding a loving message, of which she 
did not mean a word. Wolsey raised himself in his bed 
when the presents were shown to him, and thanked the 
doctor joyfully for the comfort he had brought. At 
the end of four days he was well again. But he was too 
near the court for the comfort or ease of his enemies, so 

1522. Anne Boleyn. 389 

the Duke of Norfolk, Anne's uncle, sent him wo^d through 
Cromwell " that if he did not instantly depart for the 
north he would tear him with his teeth." He did go as far 
as Cawood, near York, but Anne never ceased her perse- 
cutions until she had him arrested for high treason, and 
employed her early lover Percy to carry him the warrant. 
No doubt this was done to remind the cardinal of her first 
cause of hatred towards him. He was in prison only 
twenty-five days when he obtained his release. 

At this time the Duke of Norfolk, Anne's uncle, was 
president of the cabinet, while the Duke of Suffolk, her 
father, Sir Thomas More, Fitzwilliam, and Stephen 
Gardiner conducted the affairs of the realm, but she was 
the ruling power that influenced them all. She kept up 
her court with great splendor, and spent money most 
extravagantly. Still she could not marry the king until 
Cromwell's bold stroke that separated England from the 
power of the pope enabled her to do so. 

Then poor Queen Katharine was driven away from 
Windsor Castle, and the king created Anne Boleyn 
Marchioness of Pembroke, with a pension of ^1000 per 
annum. This ceremo^iy was performed with great pomp. 
The king was seated on his throne in the presence chamber 
at Windsor, surrounded by his councillors and a number of 
peers. Anne Boleyn entered, followed by a long train of 
courtiers, and lords and ladies of the nobility. Lady Mary 
carried on her left arm a robe of state made of crimson 
velvet, lined and trimmed with ermine, and in her right 
hand a coronet of gold. Anne wore a jacket of red velvet 
with short sleeves, her hair hanging loosely about her 
shoulders. She courtesied three times before reaching the 
throne, then kneeled down at the king's feet. After that 
the charter was read aloud, and the king himself placed the 
mantle on the shoulders of the new marchioness and 


The Queens of England. 

the coronet on her head. She thanked the sovereign 
humbly, and withdrew amidst the sounding of trumpets. 
Anne Boleyn's tastes were much more in harmony with 
those of the king than Katharine's had been, for she was 
fond of hunting and all games of cards and dice. She was 
a lucky gamester as a rule, but Henrj^'s losses were 
perfectly enormous, and formed quite an important item in 
his private expenses. 


The exact time or place of the marriage between Henry 
VIII. and Anne Boleyn is not known. It was kept secret 
because it was so unpopular in England, but as soon as the 
ceremony was performed Viscount Rochford was sent to 
France to announce the event to Francis I. When the 
secret leaked out Cranmer publicly announced King 
Henr\-'s divorce from Queen Katharine and his marriage 
to Anne Boleyn, who then began to appear in state. 

[A.D. 1534.] Early in May, 1534, the king notified the 

1522. Anne Boleyn. 391 

lord-mayor that the coronation of Queen Anne would take 
place at Westminster on Whitsunday, and requested him to 
conduct her grace from Greenwich to the Tower by water 
a few days before. On the 19th of May the river Thames 
presented a most festive appearance. In obedience to the 
royal order a barge had been decorated and fitted up for 
Anne Boleyn 's use in a most gorgeous style. The lord- 
mayor embarked in this, and fifty others followed in 
his train, one carrying a band of music, while the others 
were filled with all the great men of London dressed 
in scarlet, many of them wearing heavy gold chains about 
their necks, and others their order of knighthood. Hun- 
dreds of little row-boats were moving about on the water 
besides, for every one who could procure any sort of a tug 
accompanied the chief of the city to Greenwich, or rested 
on their oars in the best positions they could find to get a 
sight of the new queen. On the deck of the royal barge 
was a tremendous dragon, surrounded by other monsters 
that were from time to time made to vomit forth fire by 
concealed artillerymen to the delight and terror of the dif- 
ferent boats that floated near. On one barge sat a score 
of young ladies amidst festoons of red and white roses 
arranged on branches that formed a canopy, at the summit 
of which sat a white falcon crowned, holding a sceptre in 
one foot, and Anne Boleyn's motto " Me and Mine " hang- 
ing on his breast. These young ladies sang the queen's 
praises in a chorus as they glided over the water. All the 
barges were fitted up with gay flags, flowers and banners. 
Having reached Greenwich Palace they anchored, the 
band performing different pieces of music, and the chorus 
of ladies singing until three o'clock, when Anne appeared 
superbly dressed and attended by her ladies. She entered 
her barge, and the gay flotilla moved down the river again 
amidst music, cheering, and the sounding of trumpets until 

392 The Queens of England. 

it reached the Tower, when a marvellous peal of guns 
was shot off. The lord-chamberlain received the queen 
and conducted her to the king, who kissed her tenderly. 
The whole evening the barges hovered near the Tower, 
and from them was a display of brilliant fireworks, while 
crowds of people, stood to witness them on the neighboring 
wharves and bridges. 

How different were the feelings of the fair Anne within 
that self-same fortress only two short years later. On the 
eve of the coronation, according to the usual custom, the 
queen was conducted through the city of London in grand 
procession. All the streets through which she passed were 
decorated. The lord-mayor received her at the Tower 
gate. He wore a crimson velvet gown with a gold collar. 
First in the procession came the French ambassador with 
his retinue in blue and yellow velvet, then the judges, next 
the newly-made Knights of the Bath in violet gowns with 
hoods lined and trimmed with white fur. After them came 
the abbots, then the nobility and the bishops. The Arch- 
bishop of York rode with the ambassador of Venice, and 
Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, with the French 
ambassador. Then followed two esquires wearing the 
coronet of Normandy and Aquitaine, the lord-mayor with 
his mace and garter, several more knights and nobles. 
Close behind them was an open litter drawn by two white 
horses led by footmen dressed in white damask. In this 
litter sat the bright object of the parade in a jacket of 
silver tissue, mantle of the same lined with ermine, her 
dark hair falling in pretty contrast over her shoulders. A 
band of precious stones encircled her head, and above her 
was held by four knights on foot a canopy covered with 
cloth of cold. 

The master of the horse led the queen's own riding ani- 
mal, bearing a rich side-saddle with trappings of cloth of 


Anne Boleyn. 


gold that reached nearly to the ground. Seven ladies on 
horseback, dressed in crimson velvet, followed ; then came 
two chariots, in one of which sat the old Duchess of Nor- 
folk with the Marchioness of Dorset, and in the other four 
ladies of the bed-chamber. Fourteen more ladies with their 
waiting maids came next, and the guard brought up the 

At Fenchurch street was a pageant of children dressed 
up to represent different kinds of merchants, who welcomed 
the queen both in French 
and English, the whole 
procession halting for 
that purpose. At a cor- 
ner of another street was 
an enormous fountain 
that poured forth fine 
Rhenish wine all day 
long, of which anybody 
could drink just as much 
as he chose. One of the 
pageants was a white fal- 
con similar to the one on - 
the barge, with this dif- Watergate, tower. 

ference : it sat uncrowned amidst red and white roses, 
and when the queen came opposite it, an angel flew down, 
accompanied by soft music, and placed a crown of gold on 
its head. A fountain of red wine flowed at another comer, 
and the three Graces stood above it on a throne, before 
which sat a poet who recited verses and presented the 
queen with appropriate gifts from Faith, Hope and Charity. 
The city recorder handed the queen a purse containing 
a thousand marks in gold, which she graciously received with 
thanks. At Cheapside was a rich pageant from which pro- 
ceeded music and singing, while Pallas, Venus, and Juno 

394 1^^^ Queens of England. 

held up their apples of gold containing wisdom, riches, and 
felicity, which they presented to the queen. Over the gate 
of St. Paul's was a banner with this inscription in Latin : 
*' Proceed, Queen Anne, and reign prosperously." 
. On a scaffold near by were two hundred children, all 
beautifully dressed, who recited verses, and so after passing 
several other pageants and fountains of red and white wine, 
the queen arrived at Westminster. The palace was richly 
decorated within and without. She rode to the very middle 
of the hall, where she was assisted to alight from her litter, 
and led up the high dais, where she took her seat under 
the canopy of state. At her left side stood a cabinet with 
ten shelves filled with rich and costly cups and goblets of 
gold. After partaking of wine, cake, and sugar-plums, which 
were handed to her ladies also, she withdrew to change her 
dress, and probably to rest, for all the parading and sight- 
seeing of the past several hours must have been rather 

The next day was the one that Anne had looked forward 
to for many years ; the one that was to place her on the 
throne of England. It was the ist of July, and at a little 
after eight o'clock on that bright summer morning she stood 
under her canopy of state in a purple velvet mantle lined 
with ermine, a band of rubies encircling her brow. There 
was the usual procession for such occasions, and the queen 
was conducted to the high altar in Westminster Abbey, 
where she prostrated herself while Cranmer recited part of 
the service. Then he anointed her on the head and breast, 
placed the crown on her head, and handed her the sceptre, 
while the choir sang the Te Deum. She returned to her 
seat between the high altar and the choir, where she 
remained to the end of the mass, when her father led her 
to her private room off Westminster Hall to wait till the 
banquet was prepared. Then all the great earls stood in 

1534* Anne Boleyn. ,395 

gorgeous attire prepared to wait on the queen in different 
capacities, the Duke of Suffolk as high steward, assisted 
by Lord William Howard, the Earl of Sussex as carver, the 
Earl of Arundel as chief butler, and so on. 

When all was ready, the queen entered the hall with her 
canopy borne over her, washed her hands in the perfumed 
water poured over them by Sir Thomas Wyatt, and took 
her seat at the table, the Countesses of Oxford and Worces- 
ter standing on either side of her chair, while two gentle- 
women sat at her feet. All the tables in the hall were 
beautifully laid and tastefully decorated, and there was music 
all through the meal. The king took no part in this ceremony 
at all, but remained shut up in the cloister of St. Stephen's 
a part of the abbey, whence he could overlook all the pro- 
ceedings without being seen himself. During the dinner 
the Duke of Suffolk and Lord William Howard rode up and 
down the hall, laughing and chatting with the lords and 
ladies, and when it was over commanded them to remain 
in their places until the queen had washed her hands. 
She arose and stood in the middle of the hall, while the 
Earl of Sussex brought her some sweetmeats. Then the 
lord-mayor brought her a golden cup filled with wine. 
After she had drunk, she presented him the cup and walked 
towards the door of her room under her canopy. Before 
disappearing, she turned and presented the gold bells, 
canopy, and all its decorations to the barons who had car- 
ried it. 

On the following day there were jousts before the king 
and queen in the tilt-yard. But the pope did not approve 
of this second marriage, and so expelled the royal couple 
from the church ; and Henry's cousin Cardinal Pole, wrote 
him letters of reproach, calling Anne " Jezebel," " Sorcer- 
ess," and many other horrible names. Nevertheless, the 
king treated her with all the dignity of her station, and had 

396 The Queens of England. 

her initial A joined with his own on all the gold and 
silver coins that were struck after their marriage. Henry 
VIII. was the first and last monarch of England who ever 
paid his wife that compliment. 

Sir Thomas More was one of Anne's special enemies, 
because he remained true in his friendship for Queen 
Katherine to the day of her death. When his daughter 
visited him in the Tower he asked her " how Queen Anne 

" Never better," she replied : " there is nothing else at 
court but dancing and sporting." 

" Never better ! " said he, " alas ! Meg, alas ! it pitieth 
me to think into what misery, poor soul, she will shortly 
come. These dances of hers will prove such dances that 
she will spurn our heads off like foot-balls, but it will not 
be long ere her head will dance the like dance." Her 
tragical end proves the truth of that poet's prophetic 

When that great and good man was executed, the 
announcement of it was made to Henry while he happened 
to be playing cards with Anne. " Thou art the cause of 
this man's death," he cried, looking at her angrily, and 
rising from the table. He then shut himself up in his 
room, deeply grieved. 

[A.D. 1533.] In 1533 Anne had a little daughter born, 
who afterwards became the renowned Queen Elizabeth. 
The opposition her marriage had met with from Rome 
caused Anne to side with the Reformation party, though 
she always continued a Catholic at heart, and observed all 
the ceremonies of that church. It is probable that she 
took no part in the cruelty that Henry exercised over the 
pious reformers, but it is certain that she made no effort to 
prevent it; for had she done so, she was still powerful 
enough to have succeeded. She had enjoyed one triumph 


Anne Boleyn. 


after another, but when she reached the very summit of her 
greatness, no doubt she found that her path had been more 
thickly strewn with thorns than roses, and that in reading 
the Scriptures she felt the force of the text, which says : 
" What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and 
lose his own soul ? " She became grave and serious, and 
spent more time at needlework with her ladies, whom she 
assisted in making clothing which she distributed among 
the poor. 


Probably this change was due to the influence of the 
reformer, Hugh Latimer, whom she rescued from prison, 
where he had been sent by the bishop of London ; for it 
was after he preached to her and pointed out her duty 
that she so generously distributed alms and even paid for 
the education of promising lads who were likely to devote 
themselves to the church. She must often have felt that 

398 The Queens of England. 

her position on the throne of England was not very secure, 
for as her capricious husband had behaved towards his 
first wife might he not behave towards her also ? 

When the news of Katharine's death was brought to her 
she exclaimed : " Now I am indeed a queen ! " But it was 
not long before she was suffering all the bitter pangs that 
the good queen over whose death she rejoiced had endured. 

Henry had grown tired of her, and was carrying on a 
flirtation with the beautiful Jane Seymour, one of her attend- 
ants. And so, under one pretext or another, her friends 
were either beheaded or locked up in the Tower. 

At last her turn came, and just as she had finished her 
dinner, on the 2d of May, the Duke of Norfolk, with Crom- 
well and other lords of the council entered, while Sir Wil- 
liam Kingston, lieutenant of the Tower, stood in the door- 

Anne asked " why they had come ? " They replied : 
" That they came by the king's command to conduct her 
to the Tower, there to abide during his highness' pleasure." 

" If it be his majesty's pleasure I am ready to obey," 
she said, going with them to her barge without waiting to 
make the least change in her garments. Arriving at the 
Tower, she was placed in the apartment she had occupied 
on the night before her coronation. Her attendants were 
two enemies, who were particularly disagreeable to her — 
Lady Boleyn and Mrs. Cosyns. These two women never 
left her, night or day, for they slept on a pallet at the foot 
of her bed, and reported every word she uttered. They 
made all sorts of impertinent remarks to her, and kept 
constantly annoying her with questions by which they hoped 
to prove something against her. 

The poor queen was so affected by her close imprison- 
ment that at times she seemed to have lost her reason. 
She wrote a touching letter to the king, appealing to his 

1533' Anne Boleyn. 399 

mercy, but he took not the slightest notice of it, and just 
one week after she was sent to prison a charge of high 
treason was made by the grand jury of Westminster against 
Anne Boleyn, her brother, and four of her best friends. 

The friends were condemned to death, as almost every- 
body was in Henry VIIL's reign who was brought to trial 
for high treason, though sometimes they were not even tried 
at all. 

Twenty-six " lords' triers," from the body of nobles in 
England were selected to try Lord Rochford, Anne's 
brother; and, although he defended himself with great 
spirit and eloquence, and many of the judges sided with 
him, he was found guilty. 

After his removal, Anne, Queen of England, was called 
into court by an usher. 

She appeared immediately, and took her stand " with the 
true dignity of a queen, courtesying to her judges without 
any sign of fear." 

The charges were read, and she pleaded " Not guilty," 
but the trial was continued for a long time, and ended by 
a verdict of guilty. It was her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, 
who presided at this trial, and he pronounced her sentence. 
She was condemned to be burnt or beheaded, at the king's 
pleasure. Anne Boleyn heard this dreadful doom without 
changing color, but when her stern kinsman had ended, 
she clasped her hands and raising her eyes to Heaven 
exclaimed : " O Father ! O Creator ! Thou who art the way 
the life, and the truth, knowest whether I have deserved 
this death." 

She then turned to her judges and proclaimed her inno- 
cence of every charge made against her, closing her remarks 
with : " Think not I say this in the hope of prolonging my life. 
God has taught me how to die, and he will strengthen my 
faith. As for my brother and those others who are unjustly 

400 The Queens of England. 

condemned, I would willingly suffer many deaths to deliver 
them ; but since I see it so pleases the king I shall willingly 
accompany them to death, with this assurance, that I shall 
lead an endless life with them in peace." With a composed 
air, she rose, made a parting salutation to her judges, and 
left the court. 

The 19th of May was the day appointed for her execu- 
tion, and the interval was passed in prayer and confession, 
receiving the sacraments of the church, and other prepara- 
tions for death. 

It was the king's pleasure that she should be beheaded 
in the grounds of the Tower, and that no strangers should 
be admitted. A headsman from Calais was brought over 
to do the horrible deed, because he was considered par- 
ticularly expert. Anne Boleyn's fate had had no pre- 
cedent in English history, for even in the Norman reigns 
of terror woman's life had been held sacred, and the most 
merciless of the Plantagenet sovereigns had been too manly 
to butcher ladies. But the age of chivalry was over, and 
Henry VIII. was the first sovereign who sent queens and 
princesses to the block, without justice or mercy. 

The unfortunate queen was duly informed of her fate ; 
her mournful experience had shown her the vanity and 
vexation of flattery. Beauty, wealth, genius, pleasure, 
power, royalty, had all been hers, and whither had they 
led her ? 

She had not condescended to implore the mercy of the 
king, for she knew his pitiless nature too well even to 
attempt to touch his feelings. She passed the last night 
in prayer, and when morning came, and she heard that her 
execution was to be a few hours later than she expected, 
she said to Mr. Kingston : " I hear I shall not die afore 
noon, and I am very sorry, for I thought to be dead by 
this time, and past my pain." 

1536- Anne Boleyn. 401 

Mr. Kingston told her that the pain would be little and 
very short. 

" I have heard say," she replied, " that the executioner 
is very good, and I have a little neck," and she spanned 
it with her hands, laughing heartily as she did so. 

[A.D. 1536.] Her last message to the king was : " Com- 
mend me to his majesty, and tell him he hath been ever 
constant in his career of advancing me ; from a private 
gentlewoman he made me a marchioness, from a mar- 
chioness a queen, and now he hath left no higher degree of 
honor he gives my innocency the crown of martyrdom," 

A few minutes before twelve o'clock the massive doors 
of the Tower were thrown open, and the royal victim 
appeared in a robe of black damask with a deep white 
cape falling around her shoulders. 

She looked very beautiful when she ascended the 
scaffold, with a calm and dignified air, and turning to 
Kingston she requested him not to hasten the signal of her 
death until she had spoken what she desired to say. 

Then she began : " Good Christian people, I am come 
hither to die by the law, therefore I will speak nothing 
against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, but only 
to die, and to yield myself humbly unto the will of my lord 
the king. I pray God to save the king, and send him long 
to reign over you, for a gentler or more merciful prince 
there never was. If any person will meddle with my cause, 
I require them to judge the best. Thus I take my leave 
of the world and of you, and I heartily desire that you all 
will pray for me." She then removed her hat and collar, 
as well as the close cap from her head, and handed them 
to her ladies, who were weeping so bitterly that they could 
not aid her. Then turning to them she said : " And ye, 
my damsels, who ever showed yourselves so diligent in my 
service, and who are now to be present at my last hour 

402 The Queens of England. 

and mortal agony, as in good fortune ye were faithful to 
me, so even in this my miserable death ye do not forsake 
me. And as I cannot reward you for your true service to 
me, I pray you take comfort for my loss. Forget me not, 
and be always faithful to the king's grace, and to her whom 
with happier fortune, ye may have as your queen and 
mistress. Esteem your honor far above your life, and in 
prayers forget not to pray for my soul." 

Mary Wyatt, the sister of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the poet, 
who was one of Anne's devoted friends, attended her on 
the scaffold, and received her last gift, which was a little 
book of devotions bound in black enamel and gilt. She 
then whispered a few words to this lady, and kneeling 
down, placed her head upon the block. Time was allowed 
the poor unfortunate queen to say ; " O Lord God, have 
pity on my soul," when the sword fell. With one stroke, 
the head of Anne Boleyn was severed from her body, and 
rolled in the dust. 

There is a black marble monument in the ancient church 
of Horndon-on-the-Hill, in Essex, pointed out as the burial 
place of Anne Boleyn, but as it bears no name, no notice 
or inscription of any kind, there is no proof that her body 
lies there. 

A great epic poet has beautifully said : — 

" Tradition ! oh, tradition ! thou of the seraph tongue ; 
The ark that links two ages, the ancient and the young." 


(A.D. 1536-1537) 

Jane Seymour has always been pronounced the most 
beautiful of all the wives of Henry VIII. But she has also 
been presented to the world as a meritorious, discreet, young 
woman. We cannot consider her so when we remember 
that within twenty-four hours after 'Anne Boleyn's head was 
cut off she became the king's wife. For it must have been 
while acting as maid of honor for that unhappy lady that 
she not only received the attentions of her fickle, heartless 
husband, but even made all the necessary arrangements 
for her marriage with him. We shudder at the thought of 
the preparations that must have been going forward for the 
wedding-feast at the palace, while the Tower was the scene 
of heart-rending agony to the queen, who was about to sac- 
rifice her life for the gratification of a tyrant. 

The giddiness of youth cannot be pleaded as apology for 
Jane Seymour's indecency, for she was no child when she 
permitted herself to be courted by the royal Bluebeard, and 
must have been entirely conscious of the enormity of her 

Perhaps her early education was at fault, but of that little 
is known excepting that it was acquired in France. She 
was maid of honor to Mary Tudor, queen of Louis XII., 
and went to England after her dismissal from the French 
court. Anne Boleyn occupied a similar position at the 


404 The Queens of England. 

same time, therefore the two maids of honor probably knew 
each other intimately. 

One day, after Anne Boleyn had ascended the throne, 
she observ'ed a locket that hung from a pretty gold chain 
about the neck of Jane Seymour, and expressed a desire to 
see it closer. The maid of honor blushed, faltered, and 
drew back, whereupon the queen snatched the locket from 
her, opened it, and beheld the likeness of the king, her 

From that moment Anne Boleyn knew that her fate was 
sealed ; she was indignant, but that availed her nothing. 
She found herself supplanted by a rival as she had supplanted 
her predecessor. Perhaps her punishment was deserved, 
but it does not justify the conduct of the king or his new 

[A.D. 1536.] When the axe made Henry VIII. a wid- 
ower, Jane Seymour was at Wolf Hall, in Wiltshire, and her 
royal lover at Richmond Park. On the morning of the 19th 
of May his majesty stood under a spreading oak, with his 
huntsmen and hounds prepared for the chaise, awaiting the 
signal gun from the Tower to announce that he was free. 
At last the welcome sound reached his ear. " Ha, ha ! " 
he cried, " the deed is done ! uncouple the hounds and 
away." This was all the regret he expressed for the death 
of the woman he had pretended to love so well. 

His widowhood lasted just one night, for the next morn- 
ing he was at Wolf Hall, where he was united to the beautiful 
Jane Seymour. The ceremony was performed in the parish 
church, and was succeeded by a feast at which several mem- 
bers of the king's privy council were present. 

Then the royal couple proceeded to Winchester, and from 
there to London. A grand reception was held on the 29th 
of May, when Jane was presented as queen. 

When parliament met, a few days later, the lord-chan- 


1536. Jane Seymour. 407 

cellor made a lengthy speech setting forth the king's virtues, 
trying to justify his vagaries in the matrimonial line by a 
great deal of tedious, false reasoning, and winding up with 
the information that Anne Boleyn's daughter was not heir 
to the throne of England. Part of this speech was devoted 
to setting forth the noble sacrifices made by Henry VIII. 
for the benefit of his people. 

The speaker chosen by the House of Commons went 
further, and loaded the king with the most fulsome compli- 
ments, comparing him to Samson, Solomon, and Absalom 
combined. Thus was Henry VIII. encouraged in his wicked- 
ness, until, as Cardinal Wolsey wisely said : " he actually 
forgot that there was both heaven and hell." 

The Princess Mary was on good terms with her step- 
mother, who effected a reconciliation between her and the 
king ; but the conditions were so cruel, that there was not 
much to be grateful for. Perhaps Jane was not responsible 
for them, and as we have so little that is favorable to relate 
of this queen, we will give' her the benefit of the doubt. 
She made no enemies, because she avoided expressing any 
decided opinions, and preserved as much as possible a pla- 
cid silence, and permitted herself to be governed, in all 
things, by her husband. If regard for her head prompted 
such behavior, at least she was wise. 

The winter of 1537 was a remarkably cold one, and the 
royal couple with their entire court crossed the frozen 
Thames on horseback, so thick and solid was the ice.. 

Henry's two other queens had been crowned, so he 
thought the same honor ought to be conferred on the third, 
but the continuance of the pestilence caused that ceremony 
to be postponed so k>ng that death prevented it altogether, 
for Jane Seymour live d only eighteen months after her mar- 
riage. Meanwhile, she was living at Hampton Court, where 
her little son was born, who afterwards became Edward VI. 


The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1537.] This prince was baptized at midnight, and 
both his sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, took part in the cer- 
emony, which was succeeded by such a blowing of trumpets 
as must have been very trying, indeed, to the nerves of a 
young infant. 

The next day Jane Seymour died. Her body was 
embalmed and laid on a car of state covered with a rich vel- 


vet cloth. On top of this pall was a wax figure resembling 
the dead queen dressed in regal robes with a crown, sceptre, 
and jewels. 

On the 1 2th of 'November the car was drawn by six 
horses to St. George's Chapel, where the corpse was interred. 

Henry VHI. wrote a letter to Francis I. rejoicing over 
the birth of his son and expressing considerable regret at 
the death of his wife. He really did put on mourning attire, 
and appeared depressed in spirits for several weeks. This 
is all that could be expected of so worldly and gay a king. 


(A.D. 1516-1577.) 

Anne of Cleves was a most unfortunate, ill-treated 
princess, but she possessed so many virtues that she surely 
deserved a better fate than to become the wife of a king 
so devoid of the feelings of a gentleman as Henr\' VIII. 

After the death of his third queen, this capricious 
monarch did not find it so easy to get another as he 
probably expected it would be. Certainly it must have 
been a woman of rare courage who would willingly subject 
herself to such a yoke, knowing the experience of his other 

Jane Seymour had not been dead more than a month 
when he made a request of Francis I. that he might be 
permitted to choose a lady from the royal blood of France 
for his queen. That monarch replied, "that there was 
not a damsel of any degree in his own dominions who 
should not be at his disposal." 

Henry was quite flattered at this compliment, and thought 
it would only be necessary for him to put out his hand to 
secure any woman he might condescend to favor, so he 
requested Francis just to bring all the fairest ladies of 
his court to Calais for him to take his choice. The 
gallantry of the French king was shocked at such an idea, 
and he replied, " that it was impossible to bring ladies of 
noble blood to market as horses are trotted out at a fair." 

Then Henry wanted to marry James V.'s lady-love, whom 


4IO The Queens of England. 

he had seen and admired, not paying the slightest attention 
to the fact that she was already engaged. When he found 
it impossible to get her, he was ready to consider the prop- 
osition of his ambassador with regard to her sister or 
M^emoiselle Vendome. 

" Let them be brought to Calais," he said, " and I will 
take a look at them." 

" That would be impossible," was the reply ; " but your 
majesty could send somebody to Paris to see them." 

" Good gracious ! how can I depend upon any one but 
myself ? " asked Henry. " I must see them, and hear them 
sing ; and what is more, I must see how they look while 
they are singing," he added. 

By the end of the year he found that there was no hope 
for him in France, so he put on a most melancholy air, 
and pretended to be dreadfully grieved at the death of his 
pretty Jane. 

This state of mind lasted for about two years ; then 
Cromwell spoke in such flattering terms of the princesses 
of the house of Cleves that Henry began to think he had 
played the rble of forlorn widower long enough. 

Cromwell had only seen Sybilla, the eldest daughter of 
the Duke of Cleves. She was married to the Duke of 
Saxony, and was famed for her talents, virtues, charming 
manners, and extreme beauty. But unfortunately for 
Henry, Anne, the second daughter, was as unlike her 
sister as possible, and had no accomplishments whatever, 
with the exception of needlework. 

Holbein, the celebrated Dutch artist, was required to 
paint the portraits of both Anne and her younger sister, 
Amelia, for Henry's inspection, and Christopher Mount 
was sent to negotiate the treaty of marriage. He wrote a 
letter to Cromwell filled with Anne's praises and said, 
" she as far excelleth the Dutchess of Saxony as the golden 
sun excelleth the silver moon." 

1516. Anne of Cleves. 411 

The Duke of Saxony was very much opposed to a union 
of his sister-in-law with a man of Henry VIII. 's character, 
but he was the champion of the Reformation, and Christo- 
pher Mount assured him " that the cause of Protestantism 
in Europe would be greatly advanced by the influence of a 
Lutheran Queen of England, for Henry was easily managed 
through his wives." 

The Duke of Cleves died in 1559, but his son, who suc- 
ceeded him, favored Anne's marriage with King Henry, and 
so did their mother, both being strong allies of the Protest- 
ant cause, and feeling that even though it might be a sac- 
rifice, it ought to be made for the sake of their religion. 

One of Henry's commissioners wrote him that Anne 
" occupieth much of her time with her needle. She can 
read and write her own language, but French and Latin 
or other language she knoweth not ; nor yet can sing or 
play on any instrument, for they take it here in Germany 
for a rebuke and an occasion of lightness that great ladies 
should be learned, or have any knowledge of music." He 
also speaks of her gentle and amiable temper, but above all 
he praises her sobriety, which is quite amusing. 

Ever since the death of Jane Seymour the Catholics and 
Protestants of England had vied with each other as to 
which should be next represented in the queen. It was 
the magic brush of Hans Holbein that decided the question, 
and Cromwell won a triumph over Gardiner, Norfolk, and 
his other rivals, though it brought him ruin at last. 

At length all matters of state policy and ceremony were 
arranged, and the young princess bade farewell to her 
mother, brother, and sisters, by whom she was tenderly 

The first week in October, 1539, she left her native city, 
Dusseldorf on the Rhine, attended by a splendid escort. 
On her arrival at Antwerp she was received by the English 

412 The Queens of England. 

merchants there, who gave her a grand torchlight procession 
by dayhght. Next day she proceeded on her journey, and 
arrived at Calais December ii. 

About a mile outside of the town she was met by a reg- 
iment of armed men, with the king's archers, all in gay 
attire, besides the Earl of Southampton, Lord William 
Howard, and many other lords and gentlemen. Gregor)' 
Cromwell, with twenty-four others wore coats of satin dam- 
ask and velvet, with gold chains of great value, and two 
hundred yeoman who followed them were dressed in the 
king's colors, red and blue cloth. 

The Earl of Southampton welcomed the royal bride and 
conducted her into Calais, where such a peal of guns was 
shot from the ships on her arrival that all her retinue were 
astonished. Then firing began all along the coast, and was 
continued by the vessels until there were one hundred and 
fifty rounds, and so much smoke that the people in Anne's 
train could scarcely see each other. 

The following day she was presented by the mayor with 
a hundred gold sovereigns, and for about three weeks after 
her arrival there were all sorts of pastimes and festivities. 
Meanwhile Henry impatiently awaited his long-expected 
bride, and busied himself with the execution of four worthy 

The wind did not favor her progress until the 27th, when 
she embarked, attended by a fleet of fifty ships, and arrived 
at Deal the same day. The princess was received by a 
great company of ladies and gentlemen, and conducted to 
Dover Castle, where she remained until the next Monday, 
when, in a dreadful storm, she set out for Canterbury. Sev- 
eral days of travel brought the royal bride to Rochester, 
and New Year's Day was spent at the bishop's palace in 
that town. 

The king was so impatient to see her, that, in company 

iSt6. Anne of Cleves. 413 

with eight of his gentlemen-in-waiting, he rode to Rochester 
to steal a look at his German bride, who, no doubt he 
thought, would rival the bright-eyed Boleyn and the fair 

On his arrival he sent a messenger to inform Anne " that 
he had brought her a New Year's gift, if she would please to 
receive it." 

He followed his messenger into the room where she sat, 
but a glance was sufficient to show him that he had been 
deceived. She was by no means a pretty woman, and Henry 
regarded himself as an injured person in having to marry 
her. Perhaps she was not more charmed with his appear- 
ance or manners, but she sank upon her knees at his 
approach and did her best to receive him lovingly. He 
raised her gently, and kissed her, but there could not have 
been much conversation between them so long as they had 
to employ an interpreter. Besides her language was so 
displeasing to his musical ear that he did not want to hear 
more of it than he could help, though he knew before she 
came that she could speak no English, The moment he 
left her presence he sent for the lords who had brought her 
over and made his complaints. 

The New Year's gift that he had provided for Anne was 
a muff and tippet of rich sable, but when he found she was 
not handsome he would not honor her by presenting it 
with his own hands, but sent it on the following morning 
by a messenger. 

He returned to Greenwich in a melancholy frame of 
mind, and abused Cromwell for having provided him with 
a wife whom, with his usual brutality, he called a "great 
Flanders mare." Cromwell tried to put the blame on the 
Earl of Southampton, and said : " That when he found 
the princess so different from the pictures, and the reports 
that had been made of her, he ought to have stopped her 

414 The Queens of England, 

at Calais till he had given the king notice that she was not 
so handsome as she had been represented." The admiral 
replied bluntly " that he was not invested with any such 
authority, his commission was to bring her to England, and 
he had obeyed orders." The king interrupted them by 
ordering them to find some means to get him out of his 
engagement. There was a great deal of discussion about 
the matter, but no objection to the marriage could be in- 
vented that would be at all satisfactory to Anne's relations 
in Germany, so Cromwell assured the king that as a matter 
of policy he must do nothing to gain the ill-will of her 

" Is there no remedy but that I must needs put my neck 
into this yoke ? " exclaimed Henry, passionately. 

After these gracious words, which it is to be hoped did 
not reach the ears of the insulted lady who was waiting his 
orders at Dartford, he commanded the most splendid prep- 
arations to be made for his marriage. On the 3d of 
January a rich tent, covered with cloth of gold, was pitched 
at the foot of Shooter's Hill for the royal bride, and other 
tents around for her ladies. Twelve hundred gentlemen were 
ranged in double file from the park gates to the heath 
awaiting the arrival of the king with his bride. About twelve 
o'clock her grace came down from Shooter's Hill, accom- 
panied by a hundred of her own nation, the Dukes of Nor- 
folk and Suffolk, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with other 
bishops, lords and knights who had come from France, and 
went towards the tents, where Dr. Kaye, her almoner, pre- 
sented all the officers and servants of her household, and 
addressed to her an eloquent Latin oration, of which she 
did not understand a word. It was answered by her 
brother's secretary, who acted as interpreter. Then Anne 
stepped out of her chariot, and was saluted and welcomed 
by sixty-five ladies, whom she thanked and kissed, after 

i5i6. Anne of Cleves. 415 

which all entered the tents to warm themselves, for the 
weather was exceedingly cold and disagreeable. When 
the king heard that his bride had arrived at her tent he set 
out through the park to meet her, accompanied by the 
officers of his council and his gentlemen in waiting, all 
richly attired in velvet coats embroidered in gold, and 
mounted on fine large horses. The Marquis of Dorset rode 
alone, attired in purple velvet and bearing the king's sword 
of state. Some distance behind him came Henry VIII., 
mounted on a splendid white courser with trappings of 
cloth of gold embroidered with pearls. All the buckles, 
bit, and pendants were of solid gold. The king wore an 
embroidered purple velvet coat, the sleeves and breast of 
which were slashed, showing cloth of gold beneath, and 
fastened together with large buttons of diamonds, rubies, 
and oriental pearls. His sword and girdle were studded 
with costly emeralds, and his cap was so covered with 
jewels that it was not possible to fix a value on it. Around 
his neck was a deep collar thickly studded with rubies and 

When the bride was informed of Henry's approach she 
walked out of her tent, mounted a white horse, and, sur- 
rounded by her footmen, rode forward to meet him. Her 
dress was made of rich cloth of gold, cut round in Dutch 
fashion without a train. On her head she wore a close 
cap, above which was a circular bonnet ornamented with 
oriental pearls. Across her brow was a coronet of black 
velvet, and around her neck a band of superb diamonds. 
Henry saluted her in the most courteous manner, took off 
his hat and embraced her as though he really cared for her, 
while she, not forgetting her duty, and perhaps the instruc- 
tions she had received, thanked him sweetly and praised 
the arrangements he had made for her reception. No 
doubt he was pleased with all the flattering remarks she 

4l6 The Queens of Engla^id. 

felt obliged to make to him. Then he put her on his right 
side and they rode along together, he acting a deceitful 
part in trying to appear pleased, and she filled with indig- 
nation at the way he had scorned her. 

When the grand cavalcade that followed and preceded 
the royal pair arrived at Greenwich Castle all the men 
alighted from their horses excepting the king, who rode to 
the inner court with his bride. When the queen had 
alighted from her horse Henry tenderly embraced her, and 
bade her "welcome to her own," then conducted her 
through the hall that had been prepared for her reception. 
There he left her and went to his room, where he had an 
interview with Cromwell, to whom he made bitter com- 
plaints about the appearance of his unlucky bride. 

Cromwell said he was sorry his grace was not better 
satisfied, whereupon Henry bade him call his council 
together to see whether they could not hit upon some plan 
for getting him out of this marriage. The council met 
that very afternoon, but failed to aid the king out of his 
dilemma, and this put him in such a bad humor that he 
would not say what he had determined to do until the 
next Monday morning; then he ordered the marriage 
ceremony to be performed next day, without even consulting 
the bride. 

He wore a gown of cloth of gold, with raised silver 
flowers all over it. His coat was crimson satin embroidered 
and slashed, the points fastened with large diamonds, and 
a rich collar about his neck. 

He entered the presence-chamber, arid calling Cromwell 
to him, said, ** My lord, if it were not to satisfy the world 
and my realm, I would not do what I must do this day for 
any earthly thing." Then one of the officers of the 
household informed him that the queen was ready. He 
advanced towards her chamber door, but had to wait 

151^- Anne of Cleves. 417 

several minutes before she appeared, which made him very 
angry. Who can blame the poor woman for her tardiness ? 
she would have been excusable if she had refused to come 
at all. At last Henry sent one of his lords to bring 
her. She was dressed in a robe of cloth of gold, thickly 
embroidered in large flowers of oriental pearls. The skirt 
was cut, as before, round without a train, and at her neck 
and waist were costly jewels. Her hair fell luxuriantly 
over her shoulders, and on her head was a coronet of 
diamonds, with a few sprigs of rosemary. She walked 
modestly forward, between the Earls of Overstein and 
Essex, with a sad, demure expression, and on approaching 
the spot where the king stood made three low obeisances. 
She was followed by her ladies. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury and Cranmer performed 
the marriage ceremony, the Earl of Overstein gave her 
away, and on her wedding-ring was engraved this sentence 
" God send me weel to keepe." 

On the 4th of February the king and queen went up the 
Thames in grand state to their palace of Westminster. 
Henry kept up an outward show of attention to his bride, 
but she knew not the art of pleasing, felt no sympathy 
with his tastes, and could not gain his affection. 

She knew this, but could not help it. Several times she 
sent for Cromwell, hoping with his advice to be more 
successful, but he positively refused to talk privately with 
her. He had reasons of his own for doing so. 

On the I St of May a company of the gallant knights at 
court, all dressed in white velvet with rich ornaments, had 
a grand tournament in honor of the recent marriage, and 
this was the last time Henry and Anne of Cleves ever 
appeared together in public. 

Anne studied the English language industriously, and 
tried in every possible manner to please her lord, but by 

41 8 The Queens of England. 

the end of five months she was convinced that it was 

There was a low-born, unprincipled creature at court, 
named Sir Thomas Wriothesley, who would have done or 
said anything to gain favor with his sovereign, and he 
kept constantly lamenting over Henry's position, and how 
hard it was for him to be bound to a wife whom he could 
not love. In this way he prepared the way for a divorce, 
and Henry was only too ready to avail himself of any 
excuse. Now his sensitive conscience began to trouble 
him again. This time it was on the score of religion ; he 
could not bear to think of having a Lutheran wife. No 
wonder poor Anne lost patience, and in a moment of pique, 
told him that, " if she had not been compelled to marry 
him she might have fulfilled her engagement with another 
to whom she had promised her hand." 

That was enough for him ; she could scarcely have said 
anything that would have suited him better, and he at once 
set to work to make her position as unpleasant as pos- 
sible. His first move was to dismiss all her foreign attend- 
ants, and supply their places with English ladies of his 
own selection. 

By this time he was in love with the young and beautiful 
Katharine Howard, niece to the Duke of Norfolk, and had 
decided to make her his wife as soon as he could manage 
it. The leaders of the Catholic party favored this union, and 
hoped at the same time for the downfall of their great enemy, 
Cromwell. They were soon to be gratified, for Henry now 
required a tool, who would not be guided by the nice feel- 
ings of a gentleman, for carrjdng out his plans. Cromwell 
was not such a one, and he must be put out of the way. In 
this reign of terror nothing was easier, and in less thaq a 
month he was arrested and shut up in the Tower. 

A few days later Anne was sent to Richmond under pre- 

15'^ Anne of Cleves. 419 

tence that her health required change of air, and this was 
the prelude to the divorce for which Henry had now grown 

Archbishop Cranmer had performed the marriage cere- 
mony, and it now became his duty to divorce the king for 
the third time in less than seven years. This was accom- 
plished by unanimous consent of the clergy July 13. As 
the queen was a stranger to English laws and customs, she 
was spared the humiliation of appearing before the council. 

When everything was settled, Suffolk, Southampton, and 
Wriothesley were appointed to go to Richmond to get the 
queen's consent. She was so alarmed when she saw them 
that before the true object of their visit could be explained 
to her she fell fainting to the ground. No doubt the poor 
woman thought she was on the point of having her head 
cut off. When she recovered consciousness, she was told 
that if she would resign her title as queen Henry would 
adopt her for a sister, and that she should be endowed with 
estates to the value of ;^3,ooo a year. This was an immense 
relief, and Anne expressed her willingness to resign her 
honors with such alacrity that the lords were quite surprised. 

When Henry heard this, and saw the paper she had 
signed to that effect, he could not believe that she was so 
ready to part with so supremely precious a person. Fearing 
that she might relent, he wrote to his council requesting 
them to have her write a letter to her brother explaining 
her position, and expressing her earnest desire for the 

Anne then wrote her mother and brother that she was 
honorably treated, and felt quite cheerful and contented. 
She hoped that no dispute would arise between her native 
land and England, where she purposed spending her life, 
and begged them in no way to interfere, no doubt dreading 
that if they did so it would be visited on her head. 


The Queens of England. 

[A.D. 1540.] On the 28th of July, Cromwell was 

beheaded, and the pious, learned Doctor Barnes, who had 
been instrumental in bringing about the marriage, was 
burned at the stake. 

In August Henry visited his divorced wife at Richmond, 
and was so well received by her that he stayed to supper 
and seemed in excellent humor. Two days later he pub- 
licly introduced Katharine Howard at court as his queen. 


In the meantime Anne passed her time very pleasantly at 
Richmond, dressed magnificently, and performed many 
deeds of charity ; in short, she was happier than she had 
been since her departure from home. 

Sixteen months later Katharine was thrown into prison, 
and then several attempts were made by various parties to 
bring about the reunion of Henry and Anne, but fortunately 
for her without success. From her retirement she heard 


Anne of Cleves. 


of the miser}' the king endured when he became convinced 
of how his new wife had deceived him, and she must have 
been more than human if she did not feel somewhat grati- 
fied when the royal Bluebeard was compelled to part from 

Katharine Howard enjoyed sixteen months of boundless 
influence over her husband, but her lucky star was soon to 
wane, and without being allowed to open her lips in her 
own defence save to her confessor, she was led like a sheep 
to the slaughter. Her execution took place February 13. 

[A.D. 1577.] Anne of Cleves outlived Henry VHI. 
and his last wife, and died during the reign of Queen Mary 
at the Palace of Chelsea, aged forty-one. 



(A.D. 1521-1542.) 

There is not a family in England whose name has ap- 
peared so often in its history, whether for good or for bad, 
as that of the Howards, nor one whose members filled 
such varied and important positions, as every attentive 
reader will admit. 

Katharine Howard was nearly related to Anne Boleyn ; 
she became the fifth wife of Henry VIH., and is by no 
means one of the nobler specimens of the family to which 
she belonged. 

She was bom in 152 1, and had the misfortune to lose 
her mother while she was still young. Her father's 
duties called him from home a greater part of the time, 
and the Duchess of Norfolk, her grandmother, who had 
charge of Katharine, was so neglectful of her duty as to 
permit the child to choose her own companions, and they 
were unfortunately low and degraded. 

Unlike most grandmothers, the duchess merely tolerated 
Katharine in her household, and felt that she had per- 
formed her part when the little maid was locked in her 
room, and the key safely deposited in her own pocket. 
But, like many naughty girls, Katharine managed, in spite 
of locks, to meet Francis Derham, one of the Duke of 
Norfolk's retainers, to whom she secretly engaged herself. 
In order to be nearer his lady-love, Derham entered the 
service of her grandmother as gentleman-usher. After a 

IS3I. Katharine Howard. 423 

time th'e old lady began to observe certain signs of inti- 
macy between this pair of lovers, and on entering a room 
one day unexpectedly she found them romping together. 
Shocked at the familiarity of her usher towards her grand- 
daughter, she boxed the ears of the lady-attendant for per- 
mitting it, punished Katharine, and dismissed Derham 
from her service. 

After that Katharine was kept under greater restraint. 


and as she grew into womanhood learned to behave 
properly, and became remarkable for her charming and 
graceful manners. 

She met Henry VIII. the first time at a banquet given 
by the Bishop of Winchester to celebrate the monarch's 
marriage with Anne of Cleves, and afterwards at the house 
of Gardiner. The king took such a fancy to her that it 
was not long before he secured her appointment as maid- 
of-honor to the queen. It has been supposed that Kath- 
arine was instrumental in bringing about the death of 

424 The Queens of England. 

Cromwell, but, as she only intrigued for the king's favors, 
it is not probable that she troubled her head about poli- 

Henry VIII. fell in love with her as he had done with 
Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour, when they were maids-of- 
honor, and little Katharine was silly enough to be flattered 
by the marks of favor he showed her. The Duchess of 
Norfolk, instead of warning the girl of her danger, was 
foolish enough to encourage her to court the king's atten- 
tion, and provided her with fine clothes to make her as 
attractive as possible to his majesty. 

Henry was easily won, and privately married Katharine 
a few days after he was divorced from Anne of Cleves. 

[A.D. 1540.] On the 8th of August, 1540, the new bride 
was introduced at Hampton Court as Queen of England. 
A short honeymoon was passed at Windsor, and then the 
royal couple made a tour through several counties, but the 
king had exhausted his treasury when he married his 
Flemish bride, so he could not honor Katharine Howard 
with either a coronation or a marriage festival. But he 
was very much in love, and lavished affection on her. 

Six months of peace and happiness were enjoyed by the 
royal couple, Henry seldom leaving the side of his young 
wife, nor permitting any of his councillors to interrupt his 
pleasures. Katharine felt her power, and forgot what had 
been the fate of her predecessors. She was soon to be re- 
minded, however, for the realm had become divided into 
two parties — the Catholic and Protestant, and both were 
strong. The Reformers fondly hoped that Anne of Cleves 
might be restored to her former position, and regarded 
Katharine in the same unfavorable light as Anne Boleyn 
had been looked upon by the Catholics. 

At last, in the spring, came a crisis in the shape of an 
insurrection by the Catholics in Yorkshire, headed by Sir 

1S40' Katharine Howard. 427 

John Neville. Henry thought Cardinal Pole was the 
cause of it, and so took his revenge by ordering the execu- 
tion of the Countess of Salisbury, Pole's mother, who had 
been in the Tower for more than a year. When the aged 
lady heard of it she refused to lay her head upon the 
block, saying, " So should traitors do, but I am none, and 
if you will have my head you must win it as you can." 
Thereupon the brutal ruffian who acted as executioner 
dragged her by her hoary locks, and " slovenly butchered 
the woman in whose veins flowed the noblest blood of 

For the purpose of ascertaining the exact state of affairs 
in Yorkshire, King Henry set out with his wife for that 
place early in July, 1541, leaving Cranmer, Audley, and 
Seymour, three Protestant adherents, among his councillors 
at home. At Yorkshire the royal couple were met by two 
hundred gentlemen in velvet coats, with four thousand 
yeomen, who knelt while one of their number offered nine 
hundred pounds. At another place three hundred eccle- 
siastics presented six hundred pounds, and so on until 
Henry found himself much richer than when he started on 
his journey. Queen Katharine saw more of the pomp of 
royalty at this time than she had done during the whole 
year before, for the wealthy aristocracy in every part of the 
country vied with each other in the grandeur of their enter- 
tainments given in honor of the royal couple. 

Katharine had been married litde more than a year 
when Francis Derham returned to England, and she com- 
mitted the error of appointing him as her private secretary. 
As soon as the king heard of the relation that had existed 
between this man and his wife previous to her marriage his 
jealousy was aroused, and the Protestant statesmen took 
good care to encourage every suspicion that entered their 
monarch's head. Meanwhile poor little Katharine was 

428 The Queens of England. 

entirely unconscious of the storm that was gathering about 

King Henry was soon forced to order her removal from 
Hampton Court. Wriothesley and Rich were the unprin- 
cipled, cruel agents who, determined upon the destruction 
of the queen, persecuted her until she was beside herself 
with terror and grief. Then, too, she loved her husband, 
and when she was compelled to leave him without one 
word of farewell, one look of compassion, her heart was 
almost broken. The king suffered also, but his council 
took little heed of that; it would be dangerous for them 
were Katharine to regain her power. 

Shakespeare truly says : 

" Trifles, light as air. 
Are to the jealous confirmations strong 
As proofs of holy writ." 

Katharine was removed to Sion House, and thence a 
few days later to the gloomy dungeon of the Tower. 

During the short season of terror that succeeded the 
queen's arrest, Derham, the poor old Duchess of Norfolk, 
Culpepper, Katharine's cousin, and several other persons 
who were guilty of no crime but that of suspecting the 
attachment that had existed before her marriage between 
Katharine and Derham, were executed. 

On the 1 6th of January, 1542, parliament met to decide 
the fate of the queen, and without granting her the priv- 
ilege of uttering one word in her own defence she was 
condemned to die. The 14th of the following month was 
fixed upon for the execution of this beautiful young girl, 
against whom no crime could be proved even through the 
instrumentality of the torture. 

[A.D. 1542.] She met her death calmly and meekly, 
professing to the last her loyalty to the king. Her burial 


Katharine Hotvard. 


took place immediately without even the ceremonies that 
would have been accorded to the meanest of her subjects ; 
she was interred in St. Peter's chapel of the Tower. When 
speaking of Henry VIII., Sir Walter Raleigh says : " If all 
the patterns of a merciless tyrant had been lost to the 
world they might have been found in this prince." 


(A.D. 1513-1548.) 

Katharine Parr was the first Protestant Queen of 
England, and the only one of the wives of Henry VIII. who 
supported the doctrine of the Reformation with sincerity. 
She was an Englishwoman, but not of royal birth, being the 
only daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, a knight. She was 
gifted by nature with a fine mind, which was carefully cul- 
tivated by her excellent mother, as some of her writings 
that still exist certainly prove. She read and wrote Latin 
well, and had some knowledge of Greek. 

When a little girl she never could bear to sew, and often 
said to her mother, " my hands are ordained to touch 
crowns and sceptres, not spindles and needles." But Lady 
Parr was too wise to allow such notions to take a strong 
hold of her daughter's mind, and insisted on her perform- 
ing those duties that befitted her station in life ; con- 
sequently her embroidery, of which specimens have been 
preserved, shows unusual skill and industry. At Lizergh 
Castle a magnificent counterpane and toilet-cover are ex- 
hibited as the work of her hands, and although three 
centuries have passed since it was done, the colors are 
scarcely dimmed at all. The material is the richest white 
satin. In the centre is a medallion of a raised eagle 
beneath the royal crown, surrounded by a wreath of flowers 
in colored silks and gold thread. At each corner is a large 
dragon in purple, crimson, and gold, while bouquets of 


1543- Katharine Parr. 433 

flowers in gorgeous colors are dispersed here and there 
over the other part. The pieces match, but are of different 

Katharine was married twice before she became the wife 
of Henry VIII. Her first husband was Lord Edward 
Borough, a middle-aged widower with several children, who 
died a short time after the marriage. John Neville, Lord 
Latimer, was her second choice ; he was also a widower 
with children, and Katharine's amiable temper and sound 
sense so well fitted her to perform the duties a stepmother 
that she was loved and esteemed by the families of both 
her husbands. 

She was not more than twenty-nine years old when she 
was left a widow for the second time. It was then that 
she became a convert to the Reformed religion, and en- 
couraged its apostles to meet daily in her chamber of state 
to preach their sermons. 

She was not only pious, learned and handsome, but she 
possessed great wealth, and was connected by descent or 
marriage with some of the noblest families in England. 

Scarcely six months had elapsed after the death of Lord 
Latimer when she was informed by Henry VIII. that she 
was the lady whom he intended to honor by making her 
his sixth wife. She was amazed, and no doubt terrified, 
when she recalled the cruel treatment of her royal suitor's 
other victims. Besides Lord Seymour was courting her, 
and she had favored his attentions. But that gentleman 
valued his head so much that no sooner did he hear of his 
all-powerful royal brother-in-law's intention than he van- 
ished from the scene, leaving Katharine to transfer her 
affection as best she might. 

[A.D. 1543.] She exchanged her widow's weeds for 
bridal robes, and was married at Hampton Court without 
pageantry, but with all suitable observance of ceremony. 

434 ^^^ Queens of England. 

We are reminded of the fair Scheherazade in the Arabian 
Nights, who married the sultan, knowing that it was his 
custom to take a fresh wife every day and cut off her head 
in the morning. 

But the cross, selfish old tyrant whom Katharine Parr 
had the courage to marry was in such bad health that he 
needed a skilful nurse ; perhaps for that reason she felt 
confident that her position would be secure. On the day 
of her marriage she gave presents of bracelets set with 
rubies, as well as a liberal sum of money, to the Princesses 
Mary and Elizabeth. 

The University of Cambridge sent the king a congratu- 
latory letter on his choice of a Protestant wife, and the 
celebrated Roger Ascham corresponded with her in the 
name of that college, requesting her to write oftener, and 
not to shrink from being called learned. The dignity of 
the scholar and the queen are beautifully blended with the 
tenderness of the woman in the character of Katharine 
Parr after she ascended the throne. 

She became an object of jealous ill-will to Gardiner, the 
leader of the Catholic party, who feared her influence over 
the king. Scarcely two weeks after the marriage he ad- 
vised Henry to appoint a commission to search every house 
in Windsor for books written in favor of the new religion. 
Henry consented, but made an exception of the castle, no 
doubt having reason to know that more of such works 
would be found hidden away in his own household than in 
all the town put together. 

The result was that many men and women were arrested, 
tried, and condemned to death, and although the flames of 
their martyrdom were kindled almost in sight of the Prot- 
estant queen, she was unable to save the victims. She 
knew well enough that the murder of these humble Re- 
formers was a blow aimed at herself, and that Gardiner was 

1543' Katharine Parr. 435 

playing a bold game against all those professing her 
religion. • 

One of the first acts of justice that Katharine performed 
after she became queen was to restore the king's two 
daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to their proper position at 
court, after which she was constantly making them pres- 
ents, and showing them many deeds of tenderness and 
motherly care. She and Mary were opposed to each other 
in religious belief, but they were about the same age, had 
the same accomplishments and tastes, and soon became 
warm and steadfast friends. Elizabeth's brilliant talents 
were drawn forth and encouraged by her gifted step- 
mother, who also directed the studies of Edward. 

In one of his letters to her he says : " I thank you, most 
noble and excellent queen, for the letters you have lately 
sent me ; not only for their beauty, but for their imagina- 
tion. When I see your good writing and the excellence 
of your genius, quite surpassing my invention, I am sick of 
writing. But then I think how kind your nature is, and 
that whatever proceeds from a good, kind intention will 
be acceptable ; and so I write you this letter." 

Her celebrated work, " The Lamentations of a Sinner," 
is one of the finest specimens of English composition of 
that period. It is a treatise on morality and the imperfec- 
tions of human nature. 

Henry would have been miserable with a woman of such 
superior intellect if she had not constantly flattered him 
and studied his various moods. But so great was the in- 
fluence she acquired over him, and the confidence he felt 
in her wisdom, that when he went on an expedition against 
France he appointed her to govern his realm as Queen 
Regent of England and Ireland, assisted by the Earl of 

During his absence he wrote very loving letters to his 

43^ The Queens of England. 

wife, who, together with her royal step-children, resided in 
one house. • 

[A.D. 1544.] She showed a great deal of moral cour- 
age, but by her beauty, tact, and domestic virtues she had 
made herself so necessary to her fat, dropsical husband 
that she was dearer to him than any of her predecessors 
had been. 

Henry had become so unwieldy from disease that he 
could not move without assistance, and his wife showed 
herself the most patient and tender of nurses. Sometimes 
she would remain on her knees for hours bathing and 
bandaging his ulcerated leg, for he would not permit any- 
body to touch it but her. 

[A.D. 1546.] The last occasion of festivity at the court 
of Henry VHI. was when ambassadors arrived to arrange 
terms of peace between France and England. They were 
met by a numerous cavalcade of nobles, knights and gen- 
tlemen, headed by the young heir to the throne. Prince 
Edward, who, though only in his ninth year, was mounted 
on a charger, and welcomed them in the most graceful and 
engaging manner. He conducted them to Hampton 
Court, where for ten days they were feasted and enter- 
tained with great magnificence by the king and queen. 

Henry presented Katharine with jewels of great value, 
that she might make a good appearance before their French 
guests, he also provided new and costly hangings and 
furniture for her apartments as well as a quantity of hand- 
some silver. 

Wriothesley and Bishop Gardiner were alarmed at Kath- 
arine's ever-increasing influence, not only over her hus- 
band, but over the mind of young Edward as well, and" 
watched her closely, in the hope that they might be able 
to make some charge against her. Nothing offered itself 
excepting her religious opinions, which were opposed to 

1546- Katharine Parr. 439 

Several persons were burned to death about this time 
for professing the reformed doctrine, among whom was the 
young, beautiful and learned Anne Askew. She was a 
lady of honorable birth, who became a convert to the new 
faith, and was for that reason violently driven from her 
home by her cruel husband. Resuming her maiden name, 
she worked hard for her religion, and was aided by the 
first ladies at court. When it was discovered that she had 
sent books to the queen, she was singled out as a victim 
by those who hoped by means of torture to wring some 
confession from her by which Katharine might be charged 
with heresy or treason. But they were mistaken, for the 
heroic Anne Askew died at the stake like a true martyr, 
" with an angelic expression on her smiling countenance." 

Sir George Blagge was arrested also, but he happened to 
be one of the king's prime favorites, and was sometimes 
called by the endearing nickname of " pig." As soon as 
Henry heard of this arrest he sent for Wriothesley and 
rated him well, commanding him to draw up a pardon on 
the spot. On his release Blagge flew to thank his pre- 
server, who on seeing him cried out, '* Ah ! my pig, are 
you here safe again !" " Yes, sire," was the reply, " and 
if your majesty had not been better than your bishops your 
pig had been roasted ere this time." 

The next attack was on the queen herself, whom Wrioth- 
esley and Gardiner had resolved to strike with a fatal 
blow. They told the king that her sister. Lady Herbert, 
not only read the books that he had prohibited, but also 
gave them to Katharine to read. Now it happened that 
the royal couple often conversed on theological subjects in 
their hours of domestic privacy, and Henry enjoyed his 
wife's ready wit and eloquence. She courted these sub- 
jects, because, knowing that he was suffering from an in- 
curable malady, she felt it her duty to turn his mind 

440 The Queens of England. 

One day in the presence of Gardiner she went a little too 
far in opposing her lord's views, and as he was suffering 
with his leg he felt rather more irritable than usual. He 
therefore snappishly put a stop to the discussion ; after 
making a few pleasant remarks Kathanne left the room. 
" A good hearing it is," said Henry sharply, " when women 
become such clerks ; and much to my comfort to come, in 
mine old age, to be taught by my wife ! " Gardiner took 
advantage of the king's wounded vanity to insinuate things 
against his wife that he would not have dared to say a few 
days before. He flattered him on his knowledge of 
theology, and declared that his majesty excelled the princes 
of that age and every other, as well as all the professed 
doctors of divinity, so much that it was absurd for anybody 
to think of arguing with him as the queen had just done. 
He added that it was painful for any of his counsellors to 
hear it, because those who were so bold in words would not 
hesitate to commit any act of disobedience. In fact he 
so poisoned the king's mind as to gain from him a warrant 
to consult with others of his party about drawing up 
articles against the queen that might bring her head to the 
block. But they decided to begin with the ladies of the 
court whom she esteemed most, and to search their trunks 
and closets for something to charge Katharine with, and 
after they had found it to arrest her in the middle of the 
night and take her in a barge to the Tower. 

All this time the queen suspected nothing, but continued 
her nursing of her husband and her religious discussions 
with him as before. One day an attendant of Katharine's 
picked up a paper in the galler\' of Whitehall that Wrioth- 
esley had dropped. It contained a list of charges against 
the queen with an order for her arrest, and bore Henry's 
signature. The terrified woman had an attack of hysterics 
as soon as she became acquainted with the contents of the 

1546. Katharine Parr, 441 

paper ; as her apartment was next to the king's he heard 
her shrieks and cries, and sent to inquire what was the 
matter. Her doctor informed the messenger that the queen 
was seriously ill, and that the cause seemed to be distress 
of mind. No doubt Henry realized how much he should 
miss her gentle nursing if she should die, so he determined 
to pay her a visit. Accordingly he was wheeled into her 
room in a chair, and was really alarmed when he saw how 
ill she looked. After a few minutes she assured him that his 
visit had greatly revived her, and at the same time ex- 
pressed her regret at having seen so little of him for a few 
days, and her fears that she had unintentionally given him 
some cause for offence. Henry replied kindly and affec- 
tionately. Then she was so humble and loving in her 
manner that a reaction took place in the humor of her im- 
perious lord, and he told the physician of the plot against 
the patient's life. 

The next evening Katharine felt well enough to return 
the king's visit. She entered his room, attended by her 
sister, Lady Herbert, and the king's young niece. Lady 
Jane Grey, who carried the candles before her majesty. 
Henry welcomed her courteously, but in course of time 
tried to draw her into a religious argument as usual. She 
avoided the snare by observing, "that she was but a 
woman, with all the imperfections natural to the weakness 
of her sex, therefore in all matters of doubt and difficulty 
she must refer herself to his majesty's better judgment ; 
for," she continued, " God hath appointed you supreme 
head of us all, and of you, next unto God, will I ever 

" Not so, by St. Mary ! " cried the king, "ye are become 
a doctor, Kate, to instruct us, and not to be instructed of 
us, as oftentime we have seen." 

" Indeed," replied she, " if your majesty have so con- 

442 The Queens of England. 

ceived my meaning has been mistaken, for I have always 
held it preposterous for a woman to instruct her lord ; and 
if I have ever presumed to differ with your highness on 
religion it was partly to gain information for my own 
comfort regarding certain nice points on which I stood in 
doubt, and sometimes because I perceived that in talking 
you were better able to pass away the pain and weariness 
of your present infirmity, which encouraged me to this 
boldness, in the hope of profiting by your majesty's learned 

There was no limit to the flattery that this egotist could 
stand. With a complacent smile he replied, " And is it 
so, sweetheart ? Then we are perfect friends." He then 
kissed her, and gave her leave to depart. 

On the day appointed for her arrest the king felt better, 
and sent for her to take the air with him in the garden. 
She came attended by three ladies. Presently Wriothes- 
ley with forty armed men entered the garden with the in- 
tention of carrying the queen off to the Tower. But he 
had not been informed of the change in the king's mind. 
To his great surprise Henry received him with a burst of 
indignation, calling him beast, fool, and knave, and bidding 
him get out of his sight. Katharine tried to calm him, and 
begged forgiveness for her foe. 

" Ah ! poor soul," said the king, " thou little knowest, 
Kate, how evil he deserveth this grace at thy hands. On 
my word, sweetheart, he hath been to thee a very knave ! " 

Now if Katharine had not been a woman of forbearance 
and real virtue she would immediately have turned on her 
enemies when she had the king in her power, but instead 
of that she induced him to overlook Wriothesley's offence, 
but he never forgave Gardiner the blunder he had made, and 
not only struck his name from his council-book but forbade 
him his presence. Henry is said to have been very kind 

1547' Katharine Parr. 443 


and affectionate to Katharine during his latter days, yet it 
was well-known that he was preparing another charge of 
heresy against her when death overtook him, and that she 
survived him only by special good luck. 

■[A.D. 1547.] Henry VIII. expired January 28, 1547, 
at the royal palace of Westnunster, in the fifty-sixth year of 
his age. 

When his will was opened Katharine was surprised and 
indignant to find that she was not appointed regent of the 
realm, with the care of the young King Edward VI., as she 
deserved to be. 

The king's body lay in state for several days, and was 
then buried with great pomp in St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor Castle, 

A few months after his death Katharine returned to her 
former lover. Sir Thomas Seymour, to whom she was 
married in the month of May, 1547. Her royal step- 
children were much pleased at this match, and continued 
their affection for Katharine throughout her life. 


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